A light and scanning electron microscopic study of the basilar papilla in the salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The basilar papilla and basilar recess of Ambystoma tigrinum have been investigated by light and scanning electron microscopy. The recess is an evagination of the lagena, and is invested externally by dense periotic connective tissue, except over a thin area of one wall abutting against a periotic diverticulum communicating with the periotic sac. The surface and histological features of the non‐sensory lining epithelium are described. The basilar papilla occupies both slopes of an elevation adjacent to the thin wall of the recess, and consists of 40 to 80 sensory cells interposed between sustentacular cells. The sensory cells are innervated by 30 to 40 nerve fibers exhibiting two ranges of diameter, and they are capped by typical ciliary bundles that are taller at the center of the receptor than at its periphery. Bundles in the proximal and distal halves of the papilla are polarized, respectively, toward the saccule and toward the thin wall in contact with the periotic diverticulum; this divergent pattern of polarization has not been reported previously in the basilar papilla of other vertebrates. A tectorial body overlies only the bundles in the distal half of the receptor, and is attached to both the neuroepithelium and the opposite wall of the recess. Functional considerations are discussed, and comparisons are made with conditions reported in frogs and toads. The findings suggest that the basilar papilla and recess in caudate and anuran amphibians arose from common precursors and probably function in a similar manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-452
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Anatomy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1978
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy


Dive into the research topics of 'A light and scanning electron microscopic study of the basilar papilla in the salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this