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Comparative morphology of the hemolymph vascular system in krill (Euphausiacea; Crustacea)

Arthropod Structure & Development
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.asd.2010.07.004
  • Crustacea
  • Circulatory System
  • Myoarterial Formation
  • Heart
  • Medicine


Abstract The phylogenetic position of Euphausiacea within Malacostraca is still under debate. Either they are seen as sister group to a taxon comprising Pancarida and Peracarida or closer related to Decapoda. Both hypotheses can be supported by characters of the circulatory system. Therefore, a comparative re-evaluation of the circulatory system seems to be feasible. Here we present the first three-dimensional data of the circulatory system of three euphausiacean species based on semi-thin sections and micro computer tomography in combination with corrosion casting. We were also able to study for the first time representatives of Bentheuphausia amblyops, the suggested sister taxon to all other euphausiaceans. The main pumping structure in the open circulatory system of Euphausiacea is the globular heart in the rear thoracic segments. From the anterior and posterior end of the heart two unpaired and four pairs of arteries emanate. The unpaired anterior aorta runs below the carapace from the anterior part of the heart into the anterior cephalothorax, where it supplies the first antennae, the brain and the eyes. The paired posterior aortae run into the pleon supplying the pleopods, uropods and the telson. The four pairs of cardiac arteries supply appendages in the cephalic region and viscera in the trunk. The unpaired descending artery connects to the subneural vessel supplying the thoracopods. A myoarterial formation of the anterior aorta is described in Bentheuphausia amblyops. The observed pattern of a globular heart situated in the posterior cephalothorax and comprising a meshwork of musclular strands (also running through its lumen) is highly likely to be homologous in Euphausiacea and Decapoda. The data are compared with the scarce literature present to date.

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