Retinal neurogenesis and ontogenetic changes in the visual system of the brown banded bamboo shark, Chiloscyllium punctatum (Hemiscyllidae, Elasmobranchii)

J Comp Neurol. 2009 Mar 1;513(1):83-97. doi: 10.1002/cne.21953.


The development of the eye of the oviparous brown banded bamboo shark, Chiloscyllium punctatum, was monitored from egg deposition through adulthood. The order and timing of retinal cell differentiation were assessed by light and transmission electron microscopy. As in other vertebrates, the ganglion cells are the first to differentiate, in this case by 81 days post-egg deposition (dpd). The order then deviates from what is typically quoted for vertebrates, with the Müller and amacrine cells differentiating morphologically around the same time, followed by the bipolar cells (101 dpd) and finally the horizontal cells and photoreceptors (124 dpd). The neural retina is fully differentiated and synaptic connections are formed approximately 1 month prior to hatching, which occurs at about 158 dpd. The mature retina is duplex, with a peak rod to cone ratio of approximately 12:1. The eye and lens of C. punctatum continue to grow throughout life and become less aspherical with growth; the equatorial (nasotemporal) lens diameter is 12% larger than the axial (anterior-posterior) lens diameter in embryos and 8% larger in adults. Access to developmental stages and the protracted gestational period of C. punctatum make it a highly valuable model for developmental studies of the visual system. This study also provides an evolutionary perspective on retinal neurogenesis in an elasmobranch.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Eye / anatomy & histology
  • Eye / embryology
  • Eye / growth & development
  • Lens, Crystalline / anatomy & histology
  • Lens, Crystalline / embryology
  • Lens, Crystalline / growth & development
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Retina* / embryology
  • Retina* / growth & development
  • Retina* / ultrastructure
  • Sharks* / anatomy & histology
  • Sharks* / physiology
  • Visual Pathways* / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Pathways* / embryology
  • Visual Pathways* / growth & development