30 May 2018

Scholz and colleagues, 2018

Scholz S, Richter S, Wirkner CS. 2018. Constant morphological patterns in the hemolymph vascular system of crayfish (Crustacea, Decapoda). Arthropod Structure & Development 47(3): 248-267. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asd.2017.12.005


We present a study of the hemolymph vascular system of the marbled crayfish, Procambarus fallax f. virginalis, the only crayfish species known to be parthenogenetic. To identify potential evolutionary patterns, we compared data from a total of 48 specimens of P. fallax with 22 specimens of Orconectes limosus. Visualizations (2D and 3D) were carried out using a combination of classical and modern morphological techniques. Our data were compared to the existing literature. Like all Decapoda, both P. fallax and O. limosus have a hemolymph vascular system, consisting of a globular heart with seven off-branching arteries. We were able to visualize in detail the heart of crayfish for the first time, i.e., the heart muscle itself, with its loose bundles of myofibrils, as well as the valves and flaps of ostia and arteries. Furthermore, the branching patterns of the seven artery systems were analyzed. Anatomical structures identified to be consistent in all specimen of both species were combined, and a proposed schematic anatomy established of the hemolymph vascular system of crayfish.

Keywords: artery • circulatory system • evolutionary morphology • heart

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