Histological, Topographical and Ultrastructural Organization of Different Cells Lining the Olfactory Epithelium of Red Piranha, Pygocentrus nattereri (Characiformes, Serrasalmidae)

S. K. Ghosh 1  und P. Chakrabarti 2
  • 1 Department of Zoology, Bejoy Narayan Mahavidyalaya, Itachuna, Hooghly-712 147, West Bengal, India
  • 2 Fisheries Laboratory, Department of Zoology, The University of Burdwan, Golapbag, Burdwan-713 104, West Bengal, India


The structural characterization of the olfactory epithelium in Pygocentrus nattereri Kner, 1858 was studied with the help of light as well as scanning and transmission electron microscope. The oval shaped olfactory rosette consisted of 26–28 primary lamellae radiated from midline raphe. The olfactory epithelium of each lamella was well distributed by sensory and non-sensory epithelium. The sensory epithelium contained morphologically distinct ciliated and microvillous receptor cells, supporting cells and basal cells. The non-sensory epithelium was made up of labyrinth cells, mucous cells and stratified epithelial cells. According to TEM investigation elongated rod emerging out from dendrite end of the receptor cells in the free space. The dendrite process of microvillous receptor cells contained microvilli. The supporting cells had lobular nucleus with clearly seen electron dense nucleolus. The apex of the ciliated non-sensory cells was broad and provided with plenty of kinocilia. Basal cells provided with oval nucleus and contained small number of secretory granules. The mucous cells were restricted to the non-sensory areas and the nuclei situated basally and filled with about two-third of the vesicles. The functional significance of various cells lining the olfactory epithelium was discussed with mode of life and living of fish concerned.

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