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Re-study of larval stages of Amphionides reynaudii (Malacostraca: Eucarida) with modern imaging techniques

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Amphionides reynaudii (H. Milne Edwards, 1832) is a rare crustacean species, supposedly the sister taxon to Decapoda sensu stricto. Morphological examination of 33 specimens assigned to A. reynaudii housed in the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin revealed that: 1) the material contains different larval stages, and 2) that several of the specimens do not belong to this species. We provide here, for the first time, high-quality images of representatives of A. reynaudii. Documentation included white-light microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, and macrophotography. Subsequently the obtained images were improved applying composite imaging. We identified the different larval stages, but found several discrepancies between our observations and data from the literature. Our findings indicate the presence of additional, previously overlooked larval stages within the series. This re-interpretation is supported by unusually large growth factors between certain stages in older reconstructions of the larval series. Thus, the very gradual developmental pattern of A. reynaudii proves to be even more gradual than originally described. This pattern of development is most likely plesiomorphic. Considering the important phylogenetic position as supposed sister species to Decapoda sensu stricto, A. reynaudii provides crucial morphological details for reconstructing the character evolution in the decapod lineage, for example, of the maxillipeds.

Affiliations: 1: 1Biosystematic Documentation, University of Ulm, Helmholtzstr. 20, D-89081 Ulm, Germany; 2: 2Zoological Institute and Museum, Department of Cytology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Greifswald, Soldmannstr. 23, 17487 Greifswald, Germany


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