Chemoreception in gastropod molluscs

  • Kohn A
  • 28


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 90


    Citations of this article.


Chemoreception in gastropod molluscs seems to have been first discovered by the great Dutch naturalist Swammerdam in the 17th century. Despite the considerable interval since then, the probability that chemoreception is paramount in providing gastropods with sensory information, and the structural simplicity of chemoreceptors in comparison to other sense organs, little is understood about the receptors or the specific, effective stimuli involved. The evidence presently available has been obtained from behavioral studies. These have demonstrated that some herbivorous, carrionfeeding, and predatory gastropods are attracted by chemical stimuli emanating from food. Some of the more agile gastropods respond to chemical stimuli from enemies by fleeing. Both attractant and repellent responses to dissolved inorganic and organic compounds have been reported. The attraction to organic compounds such as carbohydrates and amino acids may be related to chemical attractants from food. More and better controlled ethological studies would provide considerably more information on gastropod chemoreception. Structural resemblances of rhinophores and osphradia to known chemoreceptors of other animals include neuroepithelial cells or free nerve endings and extensive innervation. In addition, these structures resemble mammalian olfactory organs in that much of the receptor surface is exposed not to the main fluid current but to secondary or "eddy" currents (Jahn and Wulff, 1950). Chemosensory functions of the osphradium predicted on morphological grounds have been confirmed by observations of behavior before and after extirpation of the organ in 4 species of gastropods, 3 prosobranchs and 1 pulmonate. It is hoped that others will be encouraged to investigate the response of gastropod chemoreceptors by electrophysiological methods. It has been only within the past decade that action potentials generated by invertebrate chemoreceptors have been recorded, and all studies to date have been concerned with arthropods (Barber, 1951, 1953, 1956; Hodgson and Roeder, 1955; Hodgson, 1958; Wolbarsht and Dethier, 1958; Case, et al., 1960). Behavioral results indicate that some gastropod chemoreceptors occur within the mantle cavity in the current of respiratory water, while others are present in those parts of the body which are in intimate, direct contact with the environment, such as tentacles, mantle fringe, and foot. It is suggested that electrophysiological techniques will provide the clearest demonstration of the chemosensory role of these organs. || ABSTRACT AUTHORS: Author

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Alan J. Kohn

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free