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MORPHOLOGICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL IDENTIFICATION OF CHELAR SENSORY STRUCTURES IN THE HERMIT CRAB PAGURUS HIRSUTIUSCULUS (DECAPODA)

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ABSTRACT The hermit crab Pagurus hirsutiusculus uses its minor chela to examine gastropod shells that may be selected for habitation. Since tactile and chemical cues, especially calcium, are important for the recognition and selection of shells by this species, the minor chela was examined for the presence of mechano- and chemoreceptors. Chelar cuticular structures were examined with a scanning electron microscope, and electrophysiological methods were used to determine their sensory responses. Two structural types, simple setae and rows of teeth, function as mechanoreceptors. The simple setae also function as chemoreceptors, sensitive to calcium. A detailed description of the arrangement and external morphology of these bifunctional simple setae is provided and serves as background for further studies of their ultrastructural features. Other structures found on the chelar surface were pits and nonsensory tubercles. The function of the pits remains unknown. Behavioral adaptations for calcium detection in marine environments are discussed, as is the possible occurrence of calcium detection in other crustaceans.

10.1163/193724093X00471
/content/journals/10.1163/193724093x00471
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/content/journals/10.1163/193724093x00471
2017-10-18

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