Developmental modularity in the feeding structures of the predatory gastropod, Amphissa columbiana (Neogastropoda; Columbellidae)




Hanson, Nova

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Developmental modularity may facilitate morphological evolution by allowing phenotypic change of a developing body component without negatively impacting other components. I examined foregut development in Amphissa columbiana, a predatory neogastropod with a highly derived foregut and in Crepidula fornicata, a phytoplankton-feeder with a less derived foregut, for evidence of developmental modules. Histological sections revealed that the post-metamorphic buccal cavity and radula of both species form as a ventral outpocketing (ventral module) from the larval esophagus (dorsal module). However, in Amphissa columbiana the ventral outpocketing is semi-isolated from the larval esophagus and also produces an “anterior esophagus” that is not developmentally homologous to the “anterior esophagus” of herbivorous caenogastropods. Semi-isolation of the ventral and dorsal modules of the developing neogastropod foregut allows precocious development of the post-metamorphic foregut during the larval stage without compromising larval feeding. Therefore, development of diverse variants of the post-metamorphic foregut are freed from larval constraints.



Modularity, Evolvability, Metamorphosis, Biphasic life history, Mollusca, Amphissa columbiana, Crepidula fornicata, Gastropoda