Myoanatomy of the marine tardigrade Halobiotus crispae (Eutardigrada: Hypsibiidae)

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The muscular architecture of Halobiotus crispae (Eutardigrada: Hypsibiidae) was examined by means of fluorescent-coupled phalloidin in combination with confocal laser scanning microscopy and computer-aided three-dimensional reconstruction, in addition to light microscopy (Nomarski), scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The somatic musculature of H. crispae is composed of structurally independent muscle fibers, which can be divided into a dorsal, ventral, dorsoventral, and a lateral musculature. Moreover, a distinct leg musculature is found. The number and arrangement of muscles differ in each leg. Noticeably, the fourth leg contains much fewer muscles when compared with the other legs. Buccopharyngeal musculature (myoepithelial muscles), intestinal musculature, and cloacal musculature comprise the animal's visceral musculature. TEM of stylet and leg musculature revealed ultrastructural similarities between these two muscle groups. Furthermore, microtubules are found in the epidermal cells of both leg and stylet muscle attachments. This would indicate that the stylet and stylet glands are homologues to the claw and claw glands, respectively. When comparing with previously published data on both heterotardigrade and eutardigrade species, it becomes obvious that eutardigrades possess very similar numbers and arrangement of muscles, yet differ in a number of significant details of their myoanatomy. This study establishes a morphological framework for the use of muscular architecture in elucidating tardigrade phylogeny.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Morphology
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)996-1013
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

muscle • bodyplan • Ecdysozoa • evolution • phylogeny

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