Document Detail


Are vibrissae viable sensory structures for prey capture in northern elephant seals, Mirounga angustirostris?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  25331439     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Little is known about the tactics northern elephant seals (NES) use to capture prey due to the difficulties in observing these animals underwater. NES forage on vertically migrating prey at depths >500 m during day and at night where light levels are negligible. Although NES have increased visual sensitivity in deep water, vision is likely a limited sensory modality. Still images of NES foraging show that the mystacial vibrissae are protracted prior to prey capture. As a representative phocid, harbor seals can follow hydrodynamic trails using their vibrissae, and are highly sensitive to water velocity changes. In lieu of performance data, vibrissal innervation can be used as a proxy for sensitivity. Although comparative data are few, seals average 1000-1600 axons per vibrissa (5-8 times > terrestrial mammals). To test the hypothesis that NES have increased innervation as other pinnipeds, vibrissae from the ventral-caudal mystacial field from nine individuals were sectioned and stained for microstructure (trichrome) and innervation (Bodian silver stain). Follicles were tripartite and consisted of lower and upper cavernous sinuses separated by a ring sinus containing an asymmetrical ringwulst. The deep vibrissal nerve penetrated the follicular capsule at the base, branched into several bundles and coursed through the lower cavernous sinus to the ring sinus. Axons in the ring sinus terminated in the ringwulst and along the inner conical body. NES averaged 1584 axons per vibrissa. The results add to the growing body of evidence that phocids, and perhaps all pinnipeds, possess highly sensitive mystacial vibrissae that detect prey. Anat Rec, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Authors:
Kristen A McGovern; Christopher D Marshall; Randall W Davis
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2014-10-21
Journal Detail:
Title:  Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007)     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1932-8494     ISO Abbreviation:  Anat Rec (Hoboken)     Publication Date:  2014 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-10-21     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  2014-10-22    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101292775     Medline TA:  Anat Rec (Hoboken)     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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