The sizes and numbers of axons in peripheral nerves and spinal roots were investigated in the stingray, Dasyatis sabina. The axons of the dorsal and ventral roots do not mingle in peripheral nerves of this animal as they do in higher vertebrates. Thus, it was usually possible to split the peripheral nerve into two portions, one containing only dorsal root axons, the other containing only ventral root axons. This feature was useful for the analysis of certain aspects of spinal cord organization. The fact that dorsal and ventral root axons were segregated in peripheral nerves enables us to demonstrate, without experimental surgery, that the central processes of the dorsal root ganglion cells and the proximal ventral root axons were 10-20% narrower, on the average, than the distal processes of the same dorsal root ganglion cells or the distal parts of the same ventral root axons. The stingray is remarkable in having very few unmyelinated axons in the dorsal roots, ventral roots, or peripheral nerves. This paucity of unmyelinated axons distinguishes the Atlantic stingrays from all other vertebrates whose roots and nerves have been examined for unmyelinated fibers. Similar findings were obtained for one spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) and two cow-nose rays (Rhinoptera bonasus).
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