DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) Convict cichlid fish skin and neuromasts (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum, formerly known as Archocentrus nigrofasciatum). Shown in this image is the forehead area of the cichlid (just above the upper lip) with a grouping of neuromasts. The neuromast is a sensory organ (mechanosensory) that consists of a cluster of sensory hair cells that are connected to nerve cells. Neuromasts are part of the lateral line and other head areas of most fish. They are found either on the skin surface or in pit organs. They are used to detect motion or vibrations in the water, especially hydrodynamic water flow across the fish surface. The sensory cells of the neuromast have hair-like structures called stereocilia (short, non-motile cilia) and a kinocilium (long, motile cilium) that are connected to nerve cells. The hair cells are surrounded by supporting cells that secrete a gelatinous cupula. Magnification: x30 when shortest axis.
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