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J Comp Neurol. 2009 Mar 10;513(2):129-50. doi: 10.1002/cne.21942.

Neural organization of first optic neuropils in the littoral crab Hemigrapsus oregonensis and the semiterrestrial species Chasmagnathus granulatus.

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Laboratorio de Neurobiología de la Memoria, Depto. Fisiología, Biología Molecular y Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, IFIBYNE-CONICET, Buenos Aires 1428, Argentina.


Crustaceans are among the most extensively distributed arthropods, occupying many ecologies and manifesting a great variety of compound eye optics; but in comparison with insects, relatively little is known about the organization and neuronal morphologies of their underlying optic neuropils. Most studies, which have been limited to descriptions of the first neuropil--the lamina--suggest that different species have approximately comparable cell types. However, such studies have been limited with regard to the types of neurons they identify and most omit their topographic relationships. It is also uncertain whether similarities, such as they are, are independent of visual ecologies. The present account describes and compares the morphologies and dispositions of monopolar and other efferent neurons as well as the organization of tangential and smaller centrifugal neurons in two grapsoid crabs, one from the South Atlantic, the other from the North Pacific. Because these species occupy significantly disparate ecologies we ask whether this might be reflected in differences of cell arrangements within the most peripheral levels of the visual system. The present study identifies such differences with respect to the organization of centrifugal neurons to the lamina. We also identify in both species neurons in the lamina that have hitherto not been identified in crustaceans and we draw specific comparisons between the layered organization of the grapsoid lamina and layered laminas of insects.

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