Sarsia, Euphysa, and other hydromedusae have been studied by electrophysiological techniques and are found to have nonnervous conducting epithelia resembling those described earlier for siphonophores. Simple, non-muscular epithelia fire singly or repetitively following brief electrical stimuli. The pulses recorded with suction electrodes are biphasic, initially positive, and show amplitudes of 0.75–2.0 mv, durations of 5–15 msec, and velocities of 15–35 cm/sec with short refractory periods. In the swimming muscle (myoepithelium) 2.0–4.0 mv composite events lasting 150–300 msec are associated with contraction waves. Propagation in nonnervous epithelia is typically all-or-none, nondecremental, and unpolarized. The subumbrellar endoderm lamella conducts independently of the adjacent ectoderm. The lower regions of the tentacles do not show propagated epithelial events. The spread of excitation in conducting epithelia and associated effector responses are described. Examples are given of interaction between events seemingly conducted in the nervous system and those in nonnervous epithelia. Either system may excite the other. Spontaneous activity, however, appears to originate in the nervous system. Conduction in nonnervous tissues is unaffected by excess Mg++ in concentrations suppressing presumed nervous activity, although this may not be a wholly adequate criterion for distinguishing components of the two systems. Evidence from old work by Romanes is considered in the light of these findings and the general significance of epithelial conduction is discussed.

This content is only available as a PDF.