Chromatophore Organization and Development in the Cuttlefish Sepia officinalis

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Title: Chromatophore Organization and Development in the Cuttlefish Sepia officinalis
Author: Gosling, Allyson A.
Abstract: The cuttlefish species Sepia officinalis possesses a unique and complex behavior referred to in this paper as body patterning behavior. This behavior allows these animals to modulate their external dermal pattern in response to environmental changes. The resulting patterns are used for both camouflage and communication purposes. This behavior is achieved by the mass coordination of millions of tiny pigment-containing organs, termed chromatophores, which are structures located in the skin. The control of these organs is unique in that they are directly innervated by motor neurons which project from the animal’s central nervous system. Using a regenerative model, the organization and post-embryonic maturation of individual chromatophores was examined in this study. Over a 30 day period the regeneration of a small excised section of tissue, taken from the anterior region of the fin, was digitally recorded. The analyses of the resulting images, which include data from the regenerating region as well as the undamaged surround, support the following conclusions: 1) Established chromatophores do not change positions. 2) The spacing between chromatophores in the undamaged control region did not significantly change throughout the 30 day experimental period. 3) As the regeneration progressed, the spacing of chromatophores in the regenerating region became increasing similar to that of chromatophores in the control region, significantly so in the last stages of regeneration.
Description: A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the biology honors requirements for the University of Oregon Bachelor of Science program, Spring 2006.
Date: 2006-06

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