Electrosensory ampullary organs are derived from lateral line placodes in cartilaginous fishes. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Ampullary organ electroreceptors excited by weak cathodal electric fields are used for hunting by both cartilaginous and non-teleost bony fishes. Despite similarities of neurophysiology and innervation, their embryonic origins remain controversial: bony fish ampullary organs are derived from lateral line placodes, whereas a neural crest origin has been proposed for cartilaginous fish electroreceptors. This calls into question the homology of electroreceptors and ampullary organs in the two lineages of jawed vertebrates. Here, we test the hypothesis that lateral line placodes form electroreceptors in cartilaginous fishes by undertaking the first long-term in vivo fate-mapping study in any cartilaginous fish. Using DiI tracing for up to 70 days in the little skate, Leucoraja erinacea, we show that lateral line placodes form both ampullary electroreceptors and mechanosensory neuromasts. These data confirm the homology of electroreceptors and ampullary organs in cartilaginous and non-teleost bony fishes, and indicate that jawed vertebrates primitively possessed a lateral line placode-derived system of electrosensory ampullary organs and mechanosensory neuromasts.

publication date

  • September 2012