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Microsc Microanal. 2005 Feb;11(1):18-36.

The decapod crustacean circulatory system: a case that is neither open nor closed.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA.


Historically, the decapod crustacean circulatory system has been classed as open. However, recent work on the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, suggests the circulatory system may be more complex than previously described. Corrosion casting techniques were refined and used to map the circulatory system of a variety of crab species (order: Decapoda; family: Cancridae) to determine if the complexity observed in the blue crab was present in other species. Seven arteries arose from the single chambered heart. The anterior aorta, the paired anterolateral arteries, and the paired hepatic arteries exited from the anterior aspect of the heart. The small-diameter posterior aorta exited posteriorly from the heart. Exiting from the ventral surface of the heart, the sternal artery branched to supply the legs and mouthparts of the crab. These arteries were more complex than previously described, with arterioles perfusing all areas of the body. The arterioles split into fine capillary-like vessels. Most of these capillaries were blind ending. However, in several areas (antennal gland, supraesophageal ganglion) complete capillary beds were present. After passing through the capillary-like vessels, blood drained into a series of sinuses. However, rather than being arbitrary spaces as previously described, scanning electron micrographs showed the sinuses to be distinct units. Most of the sinuses formed a series of flattened membrane-bound lacunae. This complexity may qualify the decapod crustacean circulatory system as one that is "partially closed" rather than open.

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