lateral line system

World English Dictionary
lateral line system
 
n
a system of sensory organs in fishes and aquatic amphibians consisting of a series of cells on the head and along the sides of the body that detect pressure changes and vibrations

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Encyclopedia Britannica
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lateral line system

a system of tactile sense organs, unique to aquatic vertebrates from cyclostome fishes (lampreys and hagfish) to amphibians, that serves to detect movements and pressure changes in the surrounding water. It is made up of a series of mechanoreceptors called neuromasts (lateral line organs) arranged in an interconnected network along the head and body. This network is typically arranged in rows; however, neuromasts may also be organized singly. At its simplest, rows of neuromasts appear on the surface of the skin; however, for most fishes, they lie embedded in the floor of mucus-filled structures called lateral line canals. These canals are placed just underneath the skin, and only the receptor portion of each neuromast extends into the canal. In amphibians the lateral line system occurs only in larval forms and in adult forms that are completely aquatic

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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