Chapter: Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology: Senses

Sensory Receptors

List and describe five types of sensory receptors.


Sensory receptors are sensory nerve endings or specialized cellscapable of responding to stimuli by developing action potentials. Several types of receptors are associated with both the general and the special senses, and each responds to a different type of stimulus:

Mechanoreceptors (mek′-n̄o-r̄e-sep′trz) respond tomechanical stimuli, such as the bending or stretching of receptors.

Chemoreceptors (kem′-r-sep′trz) respond to chemicals,such as odor molecules.

Photoreceptors (f′t-r-sep′trz) respond to light. Thermoreceptors (ther′m-r-sep′trz) respond totemperature changes.

Nociceptors (n′si-sep′trs;noceo,to injure) respond tostimuli that result in the sensation of pain.

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