Letter | Published:

Mechanical Stimulation of Feeding in Epiactis prolifera

Naturevolume 207page1003 (1965) | Download Citation



THE feeding mechanisms of coelenterates were the subject of much interest at the turn of the century, and were investigated by such notable biologists as Loeb1, Jennings2 and Parker3. Renewed consideration has been given to these problems in the past few decades largely through the work of Pantin4, who used the sea anemone, Anemonia sulcata, and more recently through the experiments of Loomis5. The latter, who showed that small amounts of the tripeptide reduced glutathione activated feeding in the fresh-water Hydra littoralis, directed attention toward the chemical activation of feeding6,7. But the question of mechanical stimulation of feeding, although demonstrated in some sea anemones by earlier workers2,8, has been neglected in recent years. In this communication, I describe some observations which show that the feeding response of the sea anemone Epiactis prolifera can be repeatedly activated by remarkably slight mechanical stimulation with inert objects.

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  1. 1

    Loeb, J., Pfluger, Arch. ges. Physiol., 9, 415 (1895).

  2. 2

    Jennings, H. S., J. Exp. Zool., 2, 447 (1905).

  3. 3

    Parker, G. H., J. Exp. Zool., 22, 193 (1917).

  4. 4

    Pantin, C. F. A., and Pantin, A. M. P., J. Exp. Biol., 20, 6 (1943).

  5. 5

    Loomis, W. F., Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 62, 209 (1955).

  6. 6

    Lenhoff, H. M., J. Gen. Physiol., 45, 331 (1961).

  7. 7

    Fulton, C. M., J. Gen. Physiol., 46, 823 (1963).

  8. 8

    Fleure, H. J., and Walton, C. L., Zool Anz., 31, 212 (1906).

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  1. HOWARD M. LENHOFF: Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


  1. Laboratory for Quantitative Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida

  2. Friday Harbor Laboratory, University of Washington, Friday Harbor, Washington



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