Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The cupula of the supraorbital neuromast in the lateral line canal of the clown knifefish contains vertical columns. In the central region of the cupula overlying the macula, these columns are densely packed, are relatively constant in size, and run from the base of the cupula to the surface of the cupula which is exposed to canal fluid. There are two types of columns, dark and light, which form elliptical compartments in planes of section that cut across the columns; the cupula therefore has the appearance of mosaic tile in such sections. The dark compartments contain tubules that extend from the base of the cupula at the junction with the macula to the top of the cupula. Each tubule is associated with the kinocilium of a single hair cell. The lateral parts of the cupula, not overlying the macula, also contain compartments, but these compartments differ in size and structure from those in the central region. In addition to the compartments, the central region of the cupula also contains spherical aggregates of droplets. These small aggregates, termed mora, are found principally in a layer within the central region of the cupula, but are also found outside this layer. Because of their light-reflecting properties, the mora can be used for noninvasive optical measurements in vivo of the motion of the cupula.
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