Surprise in a small package: foregut metamorphosis in the marine ectoparasitic snail Odostomia tenuisculpta (Family Pyramidellidae)




Harms, Kathrina

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Members of the Pyramidellidae are ectoparasites that have highly unusual feeding habits relative to other heterobranch gastropods. Pyramidellid foregut anatomy is so complex that it is difficult to recognize homologous parts relative to other heterobranch gastropods, which is a necessary step in reconstructing evolutionary changes to the foregut developmental program. We investigated foregut development through metamorphosis and beyond in the pyramidellid Odostomia tenuisculpta. By examining sections of larval and post-velum loss stages, we conclude that the so-named acrembolic proboscis of this pyramidellid is actually an eversible oral tube and the piercing stylet is either a modified radular tooth or a jaw derivative. Much of the complex, multi-component foregut of the post-metamorphic stage is constructed during a 10-day period of explosive metamorphic morphogenesis. This stands in marked contrast to predatory neogastropods, where most components of the adult feeding system become extensively differentiated in the larval stage prior to settlement and metamorphosis.



modularity, larva, morphogenesis, Euthyneura, Pyramidellidae