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Definition: An important sensory component of several kinds of mechano- and auditory receptors found in both invertebrate (statocyst) and vertebrate (vestibular organ, organ of Corti) organs of equilibrium and hearing. The "hairs" are microvilli, or sensory endings that project from the cell surface, and when bent by mechanical stimuli they generate nerve impulses or action potentials, communicating a signal to the central nervous system.
Source: Hickman, C.P., et al. 2011. Integrated Principles of Zoology. Fifteenth Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.