Habituation of reflexes in Aplysia: contribution of the peripheral and central nervous systems

Science  30 Jan 1976:
Vol. 191, Issue 4225, pp. 396-399
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246622


We studied the contribution of the Aplysia peripheral nervous system, in the siphon and gill, to habituation of the gill withdrawal reflex. After removal of one central ganglion, the parietovisceral, repeated stimulation of the siphon caused habituation of the reflex as it had with the ganglion intact, showing that there is a peripheral pathway between the siphon and gill with competence to mediate habituation. Repeated electrical stimulation of two efferent nerves to the gill, after removal of the parietovisceral ganglion, resulted in habituation of withdrawal movements, which shows that the terminals of the ganglion neurons in the gill are a site of habituation. Also, stimulation of one nerve dishabituates the withdrawal movements elicited by the other. These identify two sites of habituation in the gill in addition to sites in the parietovisceral ganglion.