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A Preliminary Study of Hepatopancreas Ultrastructure in Idotea Balthica (Isopoda)

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In isopods, the hepatopancreas has three major functions: (i) secretion and excretion of digestive enzymes, (ii) main site of food absorption, and (iii) main deposit of metabolic reserves (essentially lipids and carbohydrates, but also metals). It consists of two types of epithelial cells, the nomenclature, ultrastructure, and function of which are still debated. Previous studies concern mainly terrestrial isopods, whereas data on aquatic species are scarce. This study reports further SEM and TEM observations on the ultrastructure of the hepatopancreas of Idotea balthica, a widespread isopod, which is an important link in marine food webs of the coastal areas.

Affiliations: 1: ) Dip. di Genetica, Biologia Generale e Molecolare, Università di Napoli, Via Mezzocannone 8, I-80134 Naples, Italy; 2: ) Centro di Microscopia Elettronica, Stazione Zoologica "Anton Dohrn", Villa Comunale 1, I-80121 Naples, Italy

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