Organization of the ectodermal nervous structures in jellyfish: scyphomedusae

Biol Bull. 2014 Feb;226(1):29-40. doi: 10.1086/BBLv226n1p29.


Antibodies to α- or β-tubulin and to the bioactive peptide FMRFamide were used to investigate the organization of the ectodermal nervous structures in five species of scyphomedusae. Within the swim system, morphological evidence, including a developmental sequence, suggests that the tubulin-immunoreactive nerve net in the subumbrella is the Giant Fiber Nerve Net (Motor Nerve Net) that directly activates the swim musculature, and the FMRFamide-immunoreactive nerve net is the Diffuse Nerve Net that serves a sensory function and also enhances swim muscle activity. Similar dual labeling was found in other structures, including those involved in feeding and protective reactions (pedalia and tentacles, radial strips of smooth muscle), and in the exumbrella, where the networks were associated with batteries of nematocysts. In addition, FMRFamide immuno-staining in the rhopalia and rhopalial niches suggests that sensory components of these networks may aid in the gravitational sense of scyphomedusae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ectoderm / cytology
  • Ectoderm / innervation
  • Nematocyst / cytology
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nervous System / cytology
  • Scyphozoa / anatomy & histology*
  • Scyphozoa / cytology
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • Tubulin