01 August 2017

Biffis, 2017

Biffis C. 2017. Comparative studies in the development of the nervous system in malacostracan crustaceans. Doctoral dissertation, Biology, Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin. http://dx.doi.org/10.18452/18061


The present study addresses the development of the nervous system in three malacostracans species: the euphausiacean Meganyctiphanes norvegica, and the two decapods Penaeus monodon (Dendrobranchiata) and Procambarus fallax f. virginalis (Astacida). Based on the use of antibody stainings and fluorescent dyes in combination with CLSM and 3D reconstruction, the observations cover the onset of axogenesis and follow the establishment of the axonal scaffold in a consistent and comprehensive sequence through the embryonic and the post-embryonic development. The development of the nervous system reveals a general developmental pattern shared by the three investigated species. With a comparative approach, the observed pattern is discussed with respect to the segmental organization of the animals’ body. In particular, the development of the peripheral and of the enteric nervous systems plays a crucial role in the process of guiding the main axonal scaffold. In this context, the medulla terminalis, which in the nauplius larvae of M. norvegica and P. monodon develops strictly associated to a pair of frontal sensory organs, is proposed as a separate unit and not part of the tripartite brain. The homology of these sensory organs with the “frontal filaments” of non-malacostracan crustaceans and a new interpretation of the so called “lateral protocerebrum” in the developmental ground pattern of the Crustacea are discussed against the current phylogenetic background. Moreover, the present study offers a precise identification of the single structures forming the stomatogastric nervous system and provides a review of the former nomenclature. The interpretation of the labrum as a non-segmental appendage associated to the stomatogastric nervous system is advanced. Finally, the present study proposes the development of the nervous system as the result of the coordinated interaction of three independent nervous systems, i.e. the central, the enteric and the peripheral. As a consequence, the development of the axonal scaffold, i.e. the formation of the basal network of afferents and efferents necessary for the connection among these three systems, appears uncoupled from the segmentation process.

Keywords: None provided.

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