Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

A simple visual system without neurons in jellyfish larvae

  • Karin Nordström
  • Rita Wallén
  • Jamie Seymour
  • Dan-E Nilsson
Publishing year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 2349-2354
Publication/Series: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volume: 270
Issue: 1531
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Royal Society

Abstract english

Earlier detailed studies of cnidarian planula larvae have revealed a simple nervous system but no eyes or identifiable light sensing structures. Here, we describe the planula of a box jellyfish, Tripedalia cystophora, and report that these larvae have an extremely simple organization with no nervous system at all. Their only advanced feature is the presence of 10-15 pigment-cup ocelli, evenly spaced across the posterior half of the larval ectoderm. The ocelli are single cell structures containing a cup of screening pigment filled with presumably photosensory microvilli. These rhabdomeric photoreceptors have no neural connections to any other cells, but each has a well-developed motor-cilium, appearing to be the only means by which light can control the behaviour of the larva. The ocelli are thus self-contained sensory-motor entities, making a nervous system superfluous.


  • Zoology


  • Lund Vision Group
  • ISSN: 1471-2954
Dan-E Nilsson
E-mail: dan-e [dot] nilsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

+46 46 222 93 45

+46 70 623 10 64



Research group

Lund Vision Group


Doctoral students and postdocs

Phd Students, main supervisor


Downloads & links