Scanning Electron Micrographs of Fish Ears
A selection of images
that we have taken over the years from ears of a variety of fish
Otolithic membrane (OM)
showing ciliary bundles (cb) within the holes. The OM separates
the otolith from the sensory epithlium and, as far as we can tell.,
actually holds the two structures in contact with one another. In
essence, the OM is likely to limit the relative motion of the otolith
and sensory epithelium. The exact structure of the OM is not clear
since it is affected by histological preparations, such as that
used to prepare this micrograph.
Ciliary bundles on sensory hair cells showing the kinocilium (at
one end of the epithelium) and the stereocilia. All the hair cells
are oriented in the same direction. Note that the sensory cells
are separated by support cells and that each support cell is covered
by large numbers of microvilli. We have suggested that the OM is
held in close contact with the sensory epithelium by the microvilli.
However, this has yet to be demonstrated experimentally.
Goby saccular epithelium. This low power SEM shows the whole saccular
epithelium (anterior to the right) of a goby. The white dots are
ciliary bundles of the many sensory hair cells found on this saccule.
A small region towards the dorsal-rostral part of the epithelium
has been denuded of ciliary bundles.