Sep 15, 2009

Tiny but complex - interactive 3D visualization of the interstitial acochlidian gastropod Pseudunela cornuta (Challis, 1970)

Frontiers in Zoology
Timea P NeusserMichael Schrödl


Mesopsammic acochlidians are small, and organ complexity may be strongly reduced (regressive evolution by progenesis), especially in microhedylacean species. The marine interstitial hedylopsacean Pseudunela cornuta (Challis, 1970), however, was suggested as having a complex reproductive system resembling that of much larger, limnic and benthic species. The present study aims to reconstruct the detailed anatomy and true complexity of P. cornuta from serial, semithin histological sections by using modern computer-based 3D visualization with Amira software, and to explain it in an evolutionary context. Our results demonstrate considerable discordance with the original species description, which was based solely on paraffin sections. Here, we show that the nervous system of P. cornuta has paired rhinophoral, optic and gastro-oesophageal ganglia, three distinct ganglia on the visceral nerve cord, and a putative osphradial ganglion, while anterior accessory ganglia are absent. The presence of an anal genital cloaca is clearly rejected and the anus, nephropore and gonopore open separately to the exterior; the circulatory and excretory systems are well-differentiated, including a two-chambered heart and a complex kidney with a long, lo...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Autonomic Nerve Structure
Specimen Type - Genital
Circulatory System
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Entire Reptile AND/OR Avian Cloaca Structure
Entire Nervous System
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