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Abstract

Mystery snails (Family Ampullariidae) are aquatic prosobranchs which possess structurally complex eyes at the tip of a cephalic eyestalk. No other sensory organs are found in association with this stalk. These snails possess the ability to regenerate the eye completely after amputation through the mid-eyestalk. Amputation induces gross changes in the cellular character of the entire eyestalk; in particular, an invagination of integumentary epithelium at the apex of the eyestalk stump produces a shallow cleft or “eyecup.” Differentiation of all components of the eye apparently occurs by transdetermination of these epithelial cells. Retinal differentiation and the appearance of a new lens is observed as soon as 14 days postamputation. Complete eyes (by external observation), although smaller than the originals, have regenerated by 25 days postamputation. We compare this regeneration to the reconstruction of other animal tissues, in particular the regeneration of amphibian limbs.