Seeking references on animals with fully understood nervous systems (??horseshoe crab)

maxwell mmmaxwell at
Wed Jul 25 09:12:36 EST 2001


TropBob <tropbob at> wrote in message
news:20010725012033.25895.00001073 at
> I am looking for references on some creature/animal that has only a
few nerve
> cells in its whole nervous system, and whose full nervous system has
> completely understood, and hence whose behavior is completely
understood. If
> there is no such animal, are there any that are close to being fully
> understood?
> Ideally, the references would be either authoritative to experts, or
> to a larger audience.

suggest aplysia californica.
have a look at the aplysia forum page

kandel page

What you really need is the book Eric wrote:
Kandel,E.R. (1979) Behavioural Biology of Aplysia. San Francisco:
463pp. that will really be worth buying, though it's shelved in many a
good uni library.

BTW, if you want to know more about crab, try search using " limulus "
and also try search using " Hartline " who did seminal studies, WRT
lateral inhibition.

This'll get you started

While you're at it, take a look at the work of Ernst Mach.

If this is of interest, please post back in-- there's lots more I've
references to.


> I don't know if years ago someone or some article said that the
horseshoe crab
> has nine nerve cells total, the nerves are very large and easy to
study, and
> that the whole interaction of these nine nerves had been fully
analyzed and
> characterized (and hence also the behavior of the crab).
> In searching libraries and the Internet, I have not found much at
all on the
> horseshoe crab (or on Chelicerata/Merostomata). Grzimek's
"Encyclopedia of
> Animal Life" seemed to have the most material but it still did not
have much.
> These crabs are very ancient, going back to well before dinosaurs.
> Through a children's book on them I discovered that they have eyes
with about a
> thousand facets. The eye has been studied for line etc detection.
This would
> seem to imply that there are many more than nine nerves in the
creature. Unless
> there is something like a visual array that is not considered part
of the
> nervous system, an array that processes for e.g. lines etc..
> Thanks for any refs, or for leads, sources, or places to check or
query for
> refs and information.
> Bob Els

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