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Biol Bull. 2014 Feb;226(1):19-28.

Pedal sole immunoreactive axons in terrestrial pulmonates: Limax, Arion, and Helix.

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Friday Harbor Laboratories, 620 University Road, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250.


A century ago histological techniques such as formic acid-gold chloride showed the nerve morphology of the pedal sole in Limax and Helix. There have been no similar descriptions since then of the central nervous system relevant to locomotory pedal waves in the foot of slugs and snails. Topical application of 5-HT affects locomotory waves, but the innervation of the pedal sole with 5-HT axons is not known. Three-dimensional morphology of pedal axons in terrestrial pulmonate embryos is shown herein with modern histological techniques using antibodies and the confocal microscope. In Limax maximus, pedal ganglia are shown with Tritonia pedal peptide (TPep) antibodies. Ladder-like cross bridges in the pedal sole are shown with antibodies to both TPep and 5-HT. In Arion ater, pedal ganglia neurons and their axons that form a plexus in the pedal sole are shown with 5-HT antibodies. In Helix aspersa, 5-HT immunoreactive pedal ganglia neurons and a developing pedal sole axon plexus are seen as in A. ater. Axons in this plexus that grow across the pedal sole can be seen growing into pre-existing nerves. No peripheral 5-HT neurons were identified in these three species. This immunoreactive plexus to 5-HT antibodies in A. ater and H. aspersa spreads over the pedal sole epithelium. Axons immunoreactive to 5-HT antibodies in A. ater and H. aspersa extend the length of the foot, primarily in the rim, so that activity in these axons cannot provide local patterned input to produce locomotory waves, but may provide modulatory input to pedal sole muscles.

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