Upon excision into spring water, the lateral cilia of the gill of the freshwater mussel Elliptio complanatus (Solander) stop beating, but 0.04 M potassium ion can activate the gill so that these cilia again beat with metachronal rhythm. One per cent osmium tetroxide quickly pipetted onto a fully activated gill fixes the lateral cilia in a pattern that preserves the form and arrangement of the metachronal wave, and permits the cilia to be studied with the electron microscope in all stages of their beat cycle. Changes are seen in the fixed active preparation that are not present in the inactive control, i.e., in the packing of the cilia, the position of the axis of the ciliary cross-section, and the diameter of the ring of peripheral filaments. Analysis of these parameters may lead to new correlations between ciliary fine structure and function.

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