Micro-computed tomography and histology to explore internal morphology in decapod larvae
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AuthorCastejón, Diego; Alba Tercedor, Francisco Javier; Rotllant, Guiomar; Ribes, Enric; Durfort, Mercè; Guerao, Guillermo
Castejón, D., Alba-Tercedor, J., Rotllant, G., Ribes, E., Durfort, M., & Guerao, G. (2018). Micro-computed tomography and histology to explore internal morphology in decapod larvae. Scientific reports, 8(1), 14399.
SponsorshipFinancial support was provided by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the INIA project (grant number RTA2011-00004-00-00) to G.G. and a pre-doctoral fellowship to D.C. (FPI-INIA).
Traditionally, the internal morphology of crustacean larvae has been studied using destructive techniques such as dissection and microscopy. The present study combines advances in microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) and histology to study the internal morphology of decapod larvae, using the common spider crab (Maja brachydactyla Balss, 1922) as a model and resolving the individual limitations of these techniques. The synergy of micro-CT and histology allows the organs to be easily identified, revealing simultaneously the gross morphology (shape, size, and location) and histological organization (tissue arrangement and cell identification). Micro-CT shows mainly the exoskeleton, musculature, digestive and nervous systems, and secondarily the circulatory and respiratory systems, while histology distinguishes several cell types and confirms the organ identity. Micro-CT resolves a discrepancy in the literature regarding the nervous system of crab larvae. The major changes occur in the metamorphosis to the megalopa stage, specifically the formation of the gastric mill, the shortening of the abdominal nerve cord, the curving of the abdomen beneath the cephalothorax, and the development of functional pereiopods, pleopods, and lamellate gills. The combination of micro-CT and histology provides better results than either one alone.