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Multiple photoreceptor systems control the swim pacemaker activity in box jellyfish
A. Garm, S. Mori


Like all other cnidarian medusae, box jellyfish propel themselves through the water by contracting their bell-shaped body in discrete swim pulses. These pulses are controlled by a swim pacemaker system situated in their sensory structures, the rhopalia. Each medusa has four rhopalia each with a similar set of six eyes of four morphologically different types. We have examined how each of the four eye types influences the swim pacemaker. Multiple photoreceptor systems, three of the four eye types, plus the rhopalial neuropil, affect the swim pacemaker. The lower lens eye inhibits the pacemaker when stimulated and provokes a strong increase in the pacemaker frequency upon light-off. The upper lens eye, the pit eyes and the rhopalial neuropil all have close to the opposite effect. When these responses are compared with all-eye stimulations it is seen that some advanced integration must take place.

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