Comparison of the lateral line and ampullary systems of two species of shovelnose ray

Barbara E. Wueringer, Ian R. Tibbetts

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The anatomical characteristics of the mechanoreceptive lateral line system and electrosensory ampullae of Lorenzini of Rhinobatos typus and Aptychotrema rostrata are compared. The spatial distribution of somatic pores of both sensory systems is quite similar, as lateral line canals are bordered by electrosensory pore fields. Lateral line canals form a sub-epidermal, bilaterally symmetrical net on the dorsal and ventral surfaces; canals contain a nearly continuous row of sensory neuromasts along their length and are either non-pored or pored. Pored canals are connected to the surface through a single terminal pore or additionally possess numerous tubules along their length. On the dorsal surface of R. typus, all canals of the lateral line occur in the same locations as those of A. rostrata. Tubules branching off the lateral line canals of R. typus are ramified, which contrasts with the straight tubules of A. rostrata. The ventral prenasal lateral line canals of R. typus are pored and possess branched tubules in contrast to the non-pored straight canals in A. rostrata. Pores of the ampullae of Lorenzini are restricted to the cephalic region of the disk, extending only slightly onto the pectoral fins in both species. Ampullary canals penetrate subdermally and are detached from the dermis. Ampullae occur clustered together, and can be surrounded by capsules of connective tissue. We divided the somatic pores of the ampullae of Lorenzini of R. typus into 12 pore fields (10 in A. rostrata), corresponding to innervation and cluster formation. The total number of ampullary pores found on the ventral skin surface of R. typus is approximately six times higher (four times higher in A. rostrata) than dorsally. Pores are concentrated around the mouth, in the abdominal area between the gills and along the rostral cartilage. The ampullae of both species of shovelnose ray are multi-alveolate macroampullae, sensu Andres and von Düring (1988). Both the pore patterns and the distribution of the ampullary clusters in R. typus differ from A. rostrata, although a basic pore distribution pattern is conserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-64
Number of pages18
JournalReviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • mechanosensory lateral line
  • ampullae of Lorenzini
  • shovelnose rays
  • electroreception
  • octavolateralis system


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