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Pictural chart of statocysts of scyphozoan medusae

Scyphozoans have complex marginal sense organs (rhopalia) that are responsible for photoreception, equilibrium reception and sensory responses to other stimuli such as touch, chemicals, pressure and temperature. The gravity sensor inside a rhopalium is the statocyst containing crystalline statoliths. The statocyst crystals have a trigonal shape. The crystal faces are indexed as {3 0 2} (headfaces) and {1 0 0} (sidefaces).

The anorganic material of statoliths is calcium sulphate hemihydrate (bassanite). Elemental analyses performed with EDX-spectroscopy show mainly Ca, S and O. Pictures in the chart show how to measure the size of statocysts, the typical shape of the single crystals and the EDX-analyses. The chart is directed to students and scientists who are interested in this field of work in order to aid the identification and measurement scyphozoan statocysts. It will be disseminated on the website of the University of Hamburg.

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University of Hamburg
Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3
20146 Hamburg
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