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Arthropod Struct Dev. 2008 Sep;37(5):383-95. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2008.01.007. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

Immunocytochemical studies on the naupliar nervous system of Balanus improvisus (Crustacea, Cirripedia, Thecostraca).

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  • 1Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Biologie/Vergleichende Zoologie, Philippstr. 13, D-10115 Berlin, Germany.


The nervous system of nauplii of the crustacean taxon Cirripedia was analysed in the species Balanus improvisus Darwin, 1854 using for the first time immunocytochemical staining against serotonin, RFamide and alpha-tubulin in combination with confocal laser scanning microscopy. This approach revealed a circumoesophageal neuropil ring with nerves extending to the first and second antennae and to the mandibles, all features typical for Crustacea. In addition, RFamidergic structures are present in the region of the thoraco-abdomen. A pair of posterior nerves and a pair of lateral nerves run in anterior-posterior direction and are connected by a thoracic nerve ring and a more posteriorly situated commissure. A median nerve is situated along the ventral side of the thoraco-abdomen. The innervation of frontolateral horns and the frontal filaments are alpha-tubulin-positive. Several pairs of large neurons in the protocerebrum, along the circumoesophageal connectives and in the mandibular ganglion stain only for serotonin. Due to the almost complete absence of comparable data on the neuroanatomy of early (naupliar) stages in other Crustacea, we include immunocytochemical data on the larvae of the branchiopod, Artemia franciscana Kellogg, 1906 in our analysis. We describe several characteristic neurons in the brains of the nauplius larvae of both species which are also found in decapod larvae and in adult brains of other crustaceans. Furthermore, our data reveal that the naupliar brain of cirripedes is more complex than the adult brain. It is concluded that this ontogenetic brain reduction is related to the sessile life style of adult Cirripedia.

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