lateral line system


lateral line system

also called  lateralis system 
 a system of tactile sense organs (senses), unique to aquatic vertebrates (vertebrate) from cyclostome fishes (cyclostome) (lampreys (lamprey) and hagfish) to amphibians (amphibian), that serves to detect movements and pressure changes in the surrounding water. It is made up of a series of mechanoreceptors (mechanoreception) called neuromasts (lateral line organs) arranged in an interconnected network along the head and body. This network is typically arranged in rows; however, neuromasts may also be organized singly. At its simplest, rows of neuromasts appear on the surface of the skin; however, for most fishes (fish), they lie embedded in the floor of mucus-filled structures called lateral line canals. These canals are placed just underneath the skin, and only the receptor portion of each neuromast extends into the canal. In amphibians the lateral line system occurs only in larval forms and in adult forms that are completely aquatic.

      Neuromasts are made up of a cluster of sensory and support cells (cell) encapsulated within a jellylike sheath called the cupula. Each sensory cell, or hair cell, bears several small cilia (cilium), and each cilium may be stimulated by water movement or pressure from a single direction. The lateral line system allows the fish to determine the direction and rate of water movement. The fish can then gain a sense of its own movement, that of nearby predators or prey, and even the water displacement of stationary objects.

      In sharks (shark) and rays (ray), some neuromasts have been evolutionarily modified to become electroreceptors called ampullae of Lorenzini (mechanoreception). These receptors are concentrated on the heads of sharks and can detect the minute electrical potentials generated by the muscle contractions of prey. Ampullae of Lorenzini can also detect Earth's electromagnetic field, and sharks apparently use these electroreceptors for homing and migration.

George R. Zug
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • lateral line system —    A series of sensory organs, usually appearing in a line or series of lines on the sides and heads of fishes and larval amphibians. The system enables the animal to sense vibrations in the water [23].    See also cupula; neuromast …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • Lateral line — In fish, the lateral line is a sense organ used to detect movement and vibration in the surrounding water. Lateral lines are usually visible as faint lines running lengthwise down each side, from the vicinity of the gill covers to the base of the …   Wikipedia

  • Lateral line — Lateral Lat er*al, a. [L. lateralis, fr. latus, lateris, side: cf. F. lat[ e]ral.] 1. Of or pertaining to the sides; as, the lateral walls of a house; the lateral branches of a tree. [1913 Webster] 2. (Anat.) Lying at, or extending toward, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lateral line — a tube like sensory organ (usually bearing pores) extending along the side of the body from the rear of the head to the tail. Detects water movements, low frequency vibrations (lower than 160 200 Hz) and perhaps temperature changes. In some… …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • lateral line organ — noun sense organs of fish and amphibians; believed to detect pressure changes in the water • Syn: ↑lateral line • Hypernyms: ↑sense organ, ↑sensory receptor, ↑receptor • Part Holonyms: ↑fish, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • lateral line — the line, or system of lines, of sensory structures along the head and sides of fishes and amphibians, by which the animal is believed to detect water current and pressure changes and vibrations. See diag. under fish. [1865 70] * * * …   Universalium

  • lateral line organs — a system of sense organs arranged in longitudinal canals in the skin of fishes and amphibians; they contain mechanoreceptors that are sensitive to changes in pressure and current and to vibrations of low frequency and thus aid in localizing… …   Medical dictionary

  • lateral canal — the horizontal part of the cephalic lateral line system behind the eye …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • Lateral system — Lateral Lat er*al, a. [L. lateralis, fr. latus, lateris, side: cf. F. lat[ e]ral.] 1. Of or pertaining to the sides; as, the lateral walls of a house; the lateral branches of a tree. [1913 Webster] 2. (Anat.) Lying at, or extending toward, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lateral — Lat er*al, a. [L. lateralis, fr. latus, lateris, side: cf. F. lat[ e]ral.] 1. Of or pertaining to the sides; as, the lateral walls of a house; the lateral branches of a tree. [1913 Webster] 2. (Anat.) Lying at, or extending toward, the side; away …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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