Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

August 1972


Two types of presumed synaptic contacts have been recognized by electron microscopy in the synaptic plexus of the median ocellus of the dragonfly. The first type is characterized by an electron-opaque, button-like organelle in the presynaptic cytoplasm, surrounded by a cluster of synaptic vesicles. Two postsynaptic elements are associated with these junctions, which we have termed button synapses. The second synaptic type is characterized by a dense cluster of synaptic vesicles adjacent to the presumed presynaptic membrane. One postsynaptic element is observed at these junctions. The overwhelming majority of synapses seen in the plexus are button synapses. They are found most commonly in the receptor cell axons where they synaptically contact ocellar nerve dendrites and adjacent receptor cell axons. Button synapses are also seen in the ocellar nerve dendrites where they appear to make synapses back onto receptor axon terminals as well as onto adjacent ocellar nerve dendrites. Reciprocal and serial synaptic arrangements between receptor cell axon terminals, and between receptor cell axon terminals and ocellar nerve dendrites are occasionally seen. It is suggested that the lateral and feedback synapses in the median ocellus of the dragonfly play a role in enhancing transients in the postsynaptic responses.


This work was originally published in The Journal of General Physiology.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.