An atlas of larval organogenesis in the European shore crab Carcinus maenas L. (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae)

gabriela.torres [ at ]


RESEARCH Open Access An atlas of larval organogenesis in the European shore crab Carcinus maenas L. (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae) Franziska Spitzner 1,2 , Rebecca Meth 1,2 , Christina Krüger 1 , Emanuel Nischik 1 , Stefan Eiler 1,3 , Andy Sombke 1 , Gabriela Torres 2 † and Steffen Harzsch 1* † Abstract Background: The life history stages of brachyuran crustaceans include pelagic larvae of the Zoea type which grow by a series of moults from one instar to the next. Zoeae actively feed and possess a wide range of organ systems necessary for autonomously developing in the plankton. They also display a rich behavioural repertoire that allows for responses to variations in environmental key factors such as light, hydrostatic pressure, tidal currents, and temperature. Brachyuran larvae have served as distinguished models in the field of Ecological Developmental Biology fostering our understanding of diverse ecophysiological aspects such as phenotypic plasticity, carry-over effects on life-history traits, and adaptive mechanisms that enhance tolerance to fluctuations in environmental abiotic factors. In order to link such studies to the level of tissues and organs, this report analyses the internal anatomy of laboratory-reared larvae of the European shore crab Carcinus maenas . This species has a native distribution extending across most European waters and has attracted attention because it has invaded five temperate geographic regions outside of its native range and therefore can serve as a model to analyse thermal tolerance of species affected by rising sea temperatures as an effect of climate change. Results: Here, we used X-ray micro-computed tomography combined with 3D reconstruction to describe organogenesis in brachyuran larvae. We provide a detailed atlas of the larval internal organization to complement existing descriptions of its external morphology. In a multimethodological approach, we also used cuticular autofluorescence and classical histology to analyse the anatomy of selected organ systems. Conclusions: Much of our fascination for the anatomy of brachyuran larvae stems from the opportunity to observe a complex organism on a single microscopic slide and the realization that the entire decapod crustacean bauplan unfolds from organ anlagen compressed into a miniature organism in the sub-millimetre range. The combination of imaging techniques used in the present study provides novel insights into the bewildering diversity of organ systems that brachyuran larvae possess. Our analysis may serve as a basis for future studies bridging the fields of evolutionary developmental biology and ecological developmental biology

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DOI 10.1186/s12983-018-0271-z

Cite as
Spitzner, F. , Meth, R. , Krüger, C. , Nischik, E. , Eiler, S. , Sombke, A. , Torres, G. and Harzsch, S. (2018): An atlas of larval organogenesis in the European shore crab Carcinus maenas L. (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae) , Frontiers in Zoology, 15 (1) . doi: 10.1186/s12983-018-0271-z



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