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Keywords:

  • DiI tracing;
  • primary sensory cells;
  • sensory field;
  • sensory longitudinal axon bundles;
  • central sensory cells;
  • ventral nerve cord

Abstract

The anatomical organization of the peripheral and central sensory structures of the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris was investigated applying a fluorescent carbocyanine dye (DiI) as a neuronal tracer. Using whole-mount preparations and confocal laser scanning microscopy, the pattern of primary sensory cells and pathways of their processes were traced and reconstructed in three-dimensions. Our study shows that a ventral nerve cord ganglion receives sensory fibers from at least two adjacent segments suggesting that the peripheral nervous system is not segmental in its arrangement and the receptive-fields of the body wall overlap in earthworms. Furthermore, our result suggests an integrative function of the basiepidermal plexus consists of sensory and motor fibers. J. Morphol., 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.