The origin of novelties in evolution: evolution of the protoconch II of planktotrophic gastropod larvae




Page, Alison Mary

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My research tested hypotheses about the evolutionary origin of a novel feature by modification of development. The novelty is the growing larval shell of gastropod molluscs, which emerged when gastropod larvae acquired the ability to feed. One hypothesis states that the growing larval shell in the Heterobranchia is a continuation of the embryonic phase of shell secretion. The second hypothesis states that the larval shell in the Caenogastropoda may be a precocious juvenile shell. These hypotheses implicate heterochrony. To test these hypotheses, I examined ultrastructural features of the shell-secreting cells of two or three life history stages in a member of each of four clades of gastropods: the Patellogastropoda, Vetigastropoda, Caenogastropoda, and Heterobranchia. My results are consistent with the first hypothesis, but I found no ultrastructural support for the second hypothesis. These results provide the most comprehensive comparative data set on the ontogeny of shell-secreting cells for the Gastropoda.



Patellogastropoda, Vetigastropoda, Caenogastropoda, Heterobranchia