The lateral line canal sensory organs of the Epaulette Shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum)


Jørgen Mørup Jørgensen, Department of Zoophysiology, Building 131, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. E-mail:


Examination of the lateral line canals in the Epaulette Shark reveals a much more differentiated sensory system than previously reported from any elasmobranch. Two main types of lateral line canals are found. In one type rounded patches of sensory epithelia are separated by elevations of the canal floor. The other type is a straight canal without restrictions and with an almost continuous sensory epithelium. In addition, we found epithelia (type A) with very long apical microvilli on the supporting cells. These microvilli reach beyond the stereovilli of the hair cells. Another type (B) of sensory epithelium has short microvilli on the supporting cells. In this latter type of epithelium the stereovilli of the hair cells are comparatively tall and reach out beyond the supporting cell microvilli.

 New hair cells are found widely in both types of sensory epithelia. These always occur as single cells, unlike those described in teleost lateral line canal sensory epithelia where new hair cells seem to form in pairs. Dying hair cells are also widespread, indicating a continuous turnover of hair cells.