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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Fertilized eggs of Euphausia superba, collected over a 2-h period from gravid females, were subjected to electron microscopic examination. The zygotes were surrounded with a fibrous coat approximately 8 μm thick. Immediately below that coat was a thin electron-dense layer that delineated the perivitelline space. The perivitelline space contained ring-shaped granules approximately 50 nm in diameter. These granules originated from cortical granules in the peripheral cytoplasm. Within the cortical granules the ring-shaped granules were in stacked arrays. Examination of numerous fertilized eggs revealed a probable sequence whereby the dehiscence of the majority of the cortical granules was followed by the appearance of annulate lamellae in the cortical cytoplasm. The annulate lamellae consisted of 5-15 layers of double membranes arranged in parallel arrays. The pores in the annulate lamellae were approximately 70 nm in diameter and were arranged in alternating rows. The cortical cytoplasm also contained numerous myelin figures, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and abundant free ribosomes. The center of the centrolecithal egg was filled with yolk droplets and vast numbers of mitochondria. The cortical reaction in E. superba appears to be similar to that described for Carcinus maenas but also shares features with Penaeus aztecus. Consequently, generalities concerning the structure of crustacean eggs based on the diverse morphologies of the previously examined Reptantia and Natantia may be misleading.

Affiliations: 1: (RMD and RYG) Institute for Marine Biomedical Research, 7205 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403;; 2: (JOS) Kristineberg Marine Biological Station, S-450, 34 Fiskebackskil, Sweden.


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