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Sensory and Motor Mechanisms

Key Concepts:
50.1 Sensory receptors transduce stimulus energy and transmit signals to the
central nervous system
50.2 The mechanoreceptors responsible for hearing and equilibrium detect
moving fluid or settling particles
50.3 The senses of taste and smell rely on similar sets of sensory receptors
50.4 Similar mechanisms underlie vision throughout the animal kingdom
50.5 The physical interaction of protein filaments is required for muscle
50.6 Skeletal systems transform muscle contraction into locomotion
Concepts 5.1
Sensory reception is the detection of a stimulus by sensory cells.
Sensory cells and organs, as well as the structures within sensory cells that respond to specific
stimuli, are called sensory receptors.
The conversion of a physical or chemical stimulus to a change in the membrane potential of a
sensory receptor is called sensory transduction.
The change in membrane potential itself is known as a receptor potential.
Transducing the energy in a stimulus into a receptor potential initiates transmission.
Perceptions are constructions formed in the brain and do not exist outside it.
Amplification refers to the strengthening of stimulus energy during transduction.
Many receptors undergo a decrease in responsiveness termed sensory adaptation.
Mechanoreceptors sense physical deformation caused by forms of mechanical energy.
Chemoreceptors include both general receptors those that transmit information about total
solute concentration-and specific receptors- those that respond to individual kinds of
Electromagnetic receptors detect various forms of electromagnetic energy

Thermoreceptors detect heat and cold.

To detect stimuli that reflect such noxious animals rely on nociceptors also called pain
Concept 5.2
Most invertebrates rely on sensory organs called statocysts.
Statoliths are grains of sand or other dense granules.
The waves then continue through the tympanic canal, dissipating as they strike the round
The utricle and saccule allow us to perceive position with respect to gravity or linear
Most fishes and aquatic amphibians also have a lateral line system along both sides of their
Concept 5.3
The perceptions of gustation and olfaction both depend on chemoreceptors that detect specific
chemicals in the environment.
Taste is the detection of chemicals called tastants that are present in a solution, and smell is
the detection of odorants that are carried through the air.
Taste buds are scatted in several areas of the tongue and mouth.
Concept 50.4
Light shining on the planarian stimulates light-sensitive cells called photoreceptors in each
ocellus only through the opening where there are no pigmented cells.
Compound eyes are found in insects and crustaceans and in some polychaete worms.
A compound eye consists of up to several thousand light detectors called ommatidia.
Single-lens eyes are found in some jellies and polychaetes.
Light enters through the pupil.
The iris contracts or expands, change the diameter of the pupil to let in more or less light.
Sclera is a touch white outer layer of connective tissue and a thin, pigmented inner layer called
the choroid.
Cornea lets light into the eye and acts as a fixed lens.

The retina forms the innermost layer of the eyeball and contains layers of neuron and
The lens and ciliary body divide the eye into two cavities, and anterior cavity between the
cornea and the lens and a much larger posterior cavity behind the lens.
The ciliary body constantly produces the clear, watery aqueous humor that fills the anterior
The posterior cavity, filled with the jellylike vitreous humor, constitutes most of the volume of
the eye.
The human retina contains rods and cones, two types of photoreceptors that differ in shape
and in function.
The fovea, the center of the visual field, has no rods but has very high density of cones.
Each rod or cone in the vertebrate retina contains visual pigments that consist of a lightabsorbing molecule called retinal bound to a membrane protein called an opsin.
The opsin present in rods, when combined with retinal, makes up the visual pigment
The processing of visual information begins in the retina itself, where both rods and cones
from synapses with neurons called bipolar cells.
Ganglion cells synapse with bipolar cells and transmit action potentials to the brain via axons
in the optic nerve.
Horizontal cells and amacrine cells function in neural pathways that integrate visual
information before it is sent to the brain.
Lateral inhibition are sharpen edges and enhances contrast in the image.
The two optic nerves meet at the optic chiasm near the center of the base of the cerebral cortex.
Lateral geniculate nuclei have axons that reach the primary visual cortex in the cerebrum.
Concept 50.5
Vertebrate skeletal muscle is attached to the bones and is responsible for their movement.
A muscle fiber contains a bundle of smaller myofibrils arranged longitudinally.
Thin filaments consist of two strands of actin and two strands of a regulatory protein coiled
around one another.
Think filaments are staggered arrays of myosin molecules.

Skeletal muscle is also called striated muscle because the regular arrangement of the
filaments creates a pattern of light and dark bands.
Each repeating unit is a sarcomere, the basic contractile unit of the muscle.
According to the sliding-filament model of muscle contraction, neither the thin filament not the
think filaments change in length when the sarcomere shortens.
The force developed by a muscle progressively increases as more and more of the motor
neurons controlling the muscle are activated, a process called recruitment of motor neurons.
When the rate is high enough that the muscle fiber cannot relax at all between stimuli, the
twitches fuse into one smooth, sustained contraction called tetanus.
A rich blood supply, and a large amount of an oxygen-storing protein called myoglobin.
Muscle fibers vary in the speed with which they contract, with fast-twitch fibers developing
tension two or three times faster than slow-twitch fibers.
Vertebrate cardiac muscle if found in only one place-the heart.
Plasma membranes of adjacent cardiac muscle cells interlock at specialized regions called
intercalated disks.
Smooth muscle in vertebrates is found mainly in the walls of hollow organs.
Concept 50.6
A hydrostatic skeleton consists of fluid held under pressure in a closed body compartment.
Peristalsis is a type of movement produced by rhythmic waves of muscle contractions passing
from front to back.
An exoskeleton is a hard encasement deposited on and animals surface.
Chitin is a polysaccharide similar to cellulose.
An endoskeleton consists of hard supporting elements, buried within the soft tissues of an
Locomotion is an active travel form place to place.