Comparative scanning electron microscopic investigations of the sensory epithelia in the teleost sacculus and lagena.

Research paper by A N AN Popper

Indexed on: 10 Aug '81Published on: 10 Aug '81Published in: Journal of Comparative Neurology


Scanning electron microscopic studies were conducted on the sensory epithelia of the auditory portions of the ears in teleost species representing wide taxonomic diversity. A number of the features of the ears investigated resembled features found in other teleost species, although some major exceptions to earlier patterns were found, particularly in the saccular sensory epithelium. The saccular maculae of all but one species contained basically similar ciliary bundles on the sensory hair cells while there was some significant variation on the lagenar maculae. Hair cell orientation patterns on the sacculus contained four orientation groups in all of the species, other than the mormyrid, Gnathonemus, which only had two groups. Lagenar maculae had two orientation groups, and the orientation patterns were similar to one another. The most divergent form of lagenar macula was found in gnathonemus. These data, combined with data from earlier investigations, provide a broad overview of the surface features of the ear in teleost fishes. Most significantly, it now appears that there are at least five different saccular hair cell orientation patterns among teleost fishes, and all of these patterns are found spread through many major teleost taxa. While there is some similarity in ear structures among some groups of closely related species, such as the Elopomorpha and the Gadiformes, it is becoming more apparent that there is extensive convergence in a number of features of he teleost ear that most likely reflect similar selective pressures during the evolution of the ear. The nature of these selective pressures, however, are not well understood.