Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

The role of the Melibe buccal ganglia in feeding behavior


A series of anatomical, physiological and behavioral experiments were conducted to determine the role of the Melibe buccal ganglia in feeding. The small, paired buccal ganglia are located on the surface of the esophagus, communicate with each other via a long buccal‐buccal connective, and with the brain via bilaterally symmetrical cerebral‐buccal connectives. They also innervate the anterior and posterior regions of the esophagus, and the paired salivary glands. Stimulation of the cerebral‐buccal connectives causes slow rhythmic contractions of the esophagus, and stimulation of either the anterior or posterior buccal nerves results in single contractions of the esophagus. Removal of both buccal ganglia does not impair the ability of animals to capture food, but it has a significant impact on the transfer of captured prey through the esophagus. These data, taken together, indicate that the Melibe buccal ganglia do not influence the capture of food, but rather control movements of the esophagus which are necessary to transport food from the mouth to the stomach.


Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, Biological Sciences

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Marine Behaviour and Physiology


Taylor & Francis

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