Pharyngula

Crawling pigments

Here’s another of Casey Dunn’s Creature Casts, this time on shifting color spots in marine snails.

Pigment cells are always very, very cool. I’ve been intrigued by them for a long time — they show up in my time-lapse recordings of developing zebrafish and are always active. Here’s a quick one, a few hours of time in a roughly 24 hour old zebrafish embryo, compressed to about 30 seconds. You can see one corner of the dark eye at the bottom left of the image, and that oval structure near the middle with two spots in it is the ear and its otoliths. The melanocytes are writhing over the side of the head and down onto the yolk sac; they’re not quite as colorful as the snail, but then, the zebrafish is a mostly black and white animal.

Comments

  1. #1 The Science Pundit
    December 30, 2009

    You mean that pigment cells don’t arrange themselves like party balloons?

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    December 30, 2009

    I always like the IDiots saying that we didn’t evolve from amoebas. Which, of course, we didn’t, but we clearly have cells that share amoeba-like actions. These remind me of others that fit the bill better, B cells.

    It’s just a chance whim of the designer, though, that we’re akin to all other life on earth.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  3. #3 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 30, 2009

    Thanks for both videos, PZ. They’re both interesting.

  4. #4 eddie
    December 30, 2009

    Is that the soundtrack to Dark Star in there? If so, brilliant use of close-ups to match the opening of the movie. Can’t find a youtube clip to confirm, tho.

  5. #5 Sven DiMilo
    December 30, 2009

    Melanocytes are neural crest derivatives, yes?
    “A new head and spots,” then.

  6. #6 F
    December 31, 2009

    The zebrafish melanocytes are wicked.

  7. #7 Rorschach
    December 31, 2009

    Zebrafish,Sprebrafish ! What about the Zebra ?
    White on black or black on white stripes? Melanocytes in the white skin or not?

    :-)

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