Function of the type 11 microtrich sensilla on the lotic amphipod, Gammarus pseudolimnaeus Bousfield

Research paper by N. John Olyslager, D. Dudley Williams

Indexed on: 01 May '93Published on: 01 May '93Published in: Hydrobiologia


The type II microtrich sensilla on the lotic amphipod Gammarus pseudolimnaeus Bousfield enable it to control body orientation while swimming, as animals with their sensilla masked spent significantly more time swimming on their sides. These sensilla appear to be involved in the behavioural process that allows the animal to orient into the current (positive rheotaxis), as significantly fewer masked animals were able to turn into novel current flows compared with controls. The sensilla do not appear to play a role in detecting gravity. Results suggest that the sensilla transmit hydromechanical sensory information to the animal, and it is thought that the individual sensilla act in unison as a kinetic sensory organ. The sensilla are well adapted for such a hydromechanical role, as they would likely only be stimulated by currents hitting them broadside on. The sensilla are grouped, with each sensillum facing in a different direction, and the groups are located at appropriate positions for detecting current flows. The sensilla do not play a role in the detection of vibrations. Nor do they play a chemosensory role in the detection of food or predators; however, a role in conspecific chemodetection cannot be ruled out.