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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Light and electron microscopy revealed the fine structure of the feeding appendages and labrum of the deep-sea calanoid family Heterorhabdidae. The family accommodates 7 genera, ranging from typical suspension-feeders, Disseta and Microdisseta, to typical carnivores, Hemirhabdus, Heterorhabdus, and Neorhabdus. Heterostylites and Mesorhabdus are intermediate between these two feeding modes. The most remarkable transformation among these genera occurs in the mandible, maxilla, and labrum. The suspension-feeders and the intermediate types exhibit no extreme specialization in these structures, but the carnivores carry a lateral pair of large gland openings on the posterior surface of the labrum, from which a secretion is presumably injected into either a groove or a tubular lumen of the ventralmost tooth of the mandible. The substance is supposedly released into the prey from a hypodermic needlelike tip of the tooth. In these carnivores some setae on the basis and the first endopod segment of the maxilla are highly modified into a grasping organ. The elongation of the maxillary praecoxa is found only in the carnivore Heterorhabdus and the intermediate Heterostylites. The large gland openings of the labrum in the carnivores presumably have been converted from normal ones in the suspension-feeders. This drastic evolutionary switching from suspension feeding to carnivory in the family appears to have been accomplished only by the following factors: (1) reduction and/or loss of elements, including mandibular teeth; (2) specialization (e.g., sclerotization) of elements; (3) elongation of segments; and (4) conversion of labral gland system. Cladistic analysis provisionally indicates that the first offshoot is the suspension-feeder Disseta and that the elaborate carnivores using venom represent the evolutionarily derived terminal branch of the family.


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