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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The morphology of the foregut of the spider crab Notomithrax ursus is described from stereomicroscope and SEM examination. The foregut is divided into 2 parts: a large, anterior, cardiac chamber and a smaller, posterior, pyloric chamber. The cardiac chamber is well supplied with muscles and is lined with chitin thickened in places to form a complex, articulating set of ossicles. Some of these ossicles are developed into teeth which grind up the food. Other ossicles and setae inside the cardiac chamber appear to direct the movement of food through the cardiac chamber and sort the food according to particle size as digestion takes place. The pyloric chamber acts as a filter to separate digested liquid, which is directed to the hepatopancreas for absorption, from solid particles which are directed to the midgut for excretion. The morphology of the foregut of N. ursus, in particular, ossicle structure, supraampullary folds, and degree of setation, suggests that it is adapted to an unspecialized, macrophagous diet.


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