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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Ulophysemaoeresundense Brattstrom, 1936, is a highly specialized crustacean that spends its adult life enclosed in different organs of its sea urchin host. The morphological adaptations of the integument of U. oeresundense for making close contact with the host cells were studied. The body is enclosed in a double-walled mantle covered on the outside by a single layer of choanocyte-like cells of host origin. The outer mantle epithelial cells underlie a thin electrondense epicuticle, which has a dense network of highly differentiated villi-like structures. The wall of the mantle contains branches of the intestine, but the gut epithelium in adult specimens shows pronounced degeneration and its role in nutrient uptake is doubtful. The mouth parts are atrophied. The mantle cavity functions as a brood chamber, and its integument is provided with "anchoring" hooks that, together with the long and hairy projections of the body surface, probably prevent the eggs and larvae from being expelled. A great number of sensory organs with a putative rheoreceptive function are observed among the outer epithelial cells of the mantle cavity. The specialized epicuticle and the microvilli of the epithelial cells of the mantle are considered a route for molecular interchange.

Affiliations: 1: (JB) Institute of Zoology, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Bulowsvej 13, DK 1870 Copenhagen V, Denmark;; 2: (ÅJ) Institute of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Universitetsparken 15, DK 2100 Copenhagen 0, Denmark.


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