Extraretinal photoreceptors in the brain of the crayfish Cherax destructor

J Neurobiol. 1990 Jun;21(4):619-29. doi: 10.1002/neu.480210409.


Two clusters of red-brown pigmented cell somata lie among other cell somata along the anterior margin of the cerebral ganglion in the crayfish Cherax destructor. Electron micrographs show these cells to contain round electron dense pigment granules and that the cell membranes of two or more adjacent cells fold together to form rhabdom-like structures. The pigmented cells specifically bind a monoclonal antibody against the major species of opsin in R1-7 retinula cells of the compound eye of Cherax. When stimulated with light, the pigmented cells respond with a receptor potential-like depolarization. The axons of the pigmented cells terminate in the neuropil of the protocerebral bridge, together with neuronal elements that label with antibodies against serotonin and substance P. We suggest that the brain photoreceptors of the crayfish are important in the entrainment of circadian rhythms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astacoidea / anatomy & histology*
  • Astacoidea / physiology
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Photoreceptor Cells / cytology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Substance P / metabolism
  • Visual Pathways / cytology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology


  • Serotonin
  • Substance P