Photoreception in a Barnacle: Electrophysiology of the Shadow Reflex Pathway in Balanus cariosus

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Science  04 Aug 1972:
Vol. 177, Issue 4047, pp. 438-441
DOI: 10.1126/science.177.4047.438


The photoreceptors in the median ocellus of the rock barnacle depolarize when illuminated. This depolarization spreads passively to the axon terminals in the supraesophageal ganglion. A small number of cells in the supraesophageal ganglion hyperpolarize when the median ocellus is illuminated and depolarize when it is shadowed. Nerve impulses are superimposed on the slow depolarization of the ganglion cells. Impulse activity in response to shadowing the median ocellus is recorded in a few fibers of the circumesophageal connectives. Picrotoxin blocks this shadow-induced activity. A model of the shadow reflex pathway is presented.