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Cephalopod NeurobiologyNeuroscience Studies in Squid, Octopus and Cuttlefish$
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N. Joan Abbott, Roddy Williamson, and Linda Maddock

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198547907

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198547907.001.0001

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Organization of cephalopod chromatophore systems: a neuromuscular image-generator

Organization of cephalopod chromatophore systems: a neuromuscular image-generator

Chapter:
(p.331) 21 Organization of cephalopod chromatophore systems: a neuromuscular image-generator
Source:
Cephalopod Neurobiology
Author(s):

Andrew Packard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198547907.003.0226

Chromatophores are pigmented brightness contrast elements that generate visual information by differential expansion against a pale background. This chapter illustrates the special contribution that cephalopod chromatophore studies can make to several fields of neuroscience—neuromuscular and visceral muscle physiology, motor control, nerve regeneration, developmental neurobiology—and to pattern-generation theory. The skin of some common cephalopods contains several hundred chromatophores per mm2. Modulation of chiaroscuro (brightness contrast) information through differential expansion of these during natural patterning employs combinations of distinct components. The physiological mechanisms and spatial characteristics of the motor units involve principles used in the half-tone process and tuned to the visual perception processes of animals. Myogenic coordination within populations of chromatophores that behave in many ways like visceral muscle is reversibly suppressed by nerves (denervation studies). A revised view of the role of higher and lower brain centers in the selection, integration, and modulation process is presented in the light of recent evidence. Modulation of luminance may be either temporal (i.e., phasic changes in the sizes of chromatophores) or spatial (i.e., expansion of some chromatophores relative to others elsewhere in the population, or in other populations, generally as sustained, or tonic, activity). In parts of the skin generating the highest brightness contrast, light areas are underlain by white pigment (leucophores).

Keywords:   chromatophore, neuromuscular, visceral muscle, cephalopod, chiaroscuro, myogenic

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