Scanning electron microscopic observations on the inner ear of the skate, Raja ocellata

Cell Tissue Res. 1980;205(2):199-215. doi: 10.1007/BF00234680.


The inner ear of the skate, Raja ocellata, was examined by scanning electron microscopy. The otolithic membranes have a gelatinous component and an endogenous class of otoconia. Cupulae are reticulate in form. The morphology and polarization of sensory cell hair bundles are described for the various regions of the labyrinth, and are compared with published observations on other species. In the otolithic maculae, the more centrally located receptor cells generally have longer sterecolia than the peripheral cells. The hair bundles of the lacinia are similar to those of the central portion of the sacculus and differed from those of the rest of the utricular macula. Hair bundles in the peripheral regions of all maculae and cristae are similar. The polarization pattern of the utriculus is similar to that of teleosts, while that of the lagena is less clearly dichotomized. The receptor cells of most of the sacculus are oriented in a bivertical direction, with cells in the anterior portion, and a few in the posterior region, being aligned longitudinally. The significance of morphology and polarization with respect to the functions of the otolithic organs is discussed. The relationship of cell processes of the ampullary receptors to the cupula is briefly considered.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Maculae / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Cilia / ultrastructure
  • Ear, Inner / ultrastructure*
  • Fishes / anatomy & histology*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Saccule and Utricle / ultrastructure