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Seeing without eyes: Hydra stinging cells respond to light

In the absence of eyes, the fresh water polyp, Hydra magnipapillata, nevertheless reacts to light. They are diurnal, hunting during the day, and are known to move, looping end over end, or contract, in response to light. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Biology shows that stinging cells (cnidocytes) in hydra tentacles, which the animals use for self protection and to catch prey, are linked via a simple nervous system to primitive light responsive cells that co-ordinate the animals' feeding behavior.
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