Development of the larval nervous system of the sand dollar, Dendraster excentricus

Cell Tissue Res. 1983;229(1):145-54. doi: 10.1007/BF00217887.


Transformation of the gastrula to the pluteus includes development of the ability of the larva to control the direction of ciliary beat and coordinate activities of the ciliary band with activities of the esophageal muscles (48-60 h, 15 degrees C). Glyoxylic acid-induced fluorescence shows several cells of the animal plate to contain catecholamines in the 36-h gastrula. As the ectoderm thickens to form the ciliary band (36 48 h), the catecholamine-containing cells increase in number and occur dispersed throughout the band. Tissues with the ultrastructural characteristics of nerves first became apparent associated with the ciliary band in 60-h larvae. The coincident development of coordinated behaviour and the appearance of cells with ultrastructural and histochemical characteristics of nerves suggests that the larval nervous system is derived at least in part from cells of the animal plate and develops in association with the ciliary bands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catecholamines / physiology
  • Cilia / physiology
  • Larva
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Nervous System / embryology
  • Sea Urchins / embryology*
  • Sea Urchins / ultrastructure


  • Catecholamines