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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/486

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482
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

The question is, why is it that the central disk of the medusa does not pulsate in sea-water when its sense-clubs are removed? Curiously enough, if we stimulate the disk in any manner, such as by a mechanical or electrical shock, or by touching it with a crystal of common salt, it gives a few vigorous pulsations and then lapses into quiescence.

But if we cut out the center of the medusa and also remove the rim, thus forming a ring tissue without sense-organs (Fig. 2), this

PSM V73 D486 Living medusae of cassiopea xamachana.png

Fig. 1. Living Medusæ of Cassiopea xamachana on a Sandy Bottom. The large medusa in the middle is in the natural attitude with its mouth-arms uppermost. The smaller medusæ have been turned over in order to show their pulsating disks.

ring remains quiescent in sea-water unless we stimulate it at any point such as at S with a single momentary touch of a crystal of potassium, or in some other manner, when a contraction-wave starts out from the point touched. In a narrow ring, however, the waves can go only in opposite directions from the stimulated point. Now one of these waves is apt to be strong and the other weak; for the nervous network which