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The ultrastructural development and 3D reconstruction of the transparent carapace of the ostracod Skogsbergia lerneri

Rumney, Benjamin M. ORCID:, Malik, F. Tegwen, Morgan, Siân R., Parker, Andrew R., Holden, Simon, Albon, Julie ORCID:, Lewis, Philip N. ORCID: and Meek, Keith M. ORCID: 2022. The ultrastructural development and 3D reconstruction of the transparent carapace of the ostracod Skogsbergia lerneri. Marine Biology 169 , 35. 10.1007/s00227-021-04006-7

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The Skogsbergia lerneri is a marine ostracod which possesses a carapace that is both protective and transparent. Since development of this carapace and how it is maintained in the adult is not known, the aim of this investigation was to carry out an in-depth ultrastructural study of the ostracod carapace at different developmental stages. Standard transmission electron microscopy and novel serial block face scanning electron microscopy (SBF-SEM) were undertaken to discern carapace ultrastructure in both two and three dimensions. Analysis revealed a carapace consisting of the same basic layer structure as other myodocopid ostracods, namely an epicuticle, exocuticle, endocuticle and membranous layer, but with a thinner adult carapace of mean thickness of 19.2 ± 1.78 µm, n = 5. The carapace layers, except for instar 1 ostracods, had similar relative proportions throughout development. The endocuticle and membranous layer thickened through advancing developmental stages due to an increase in calcified crystalline polyhedrons and a greater number of chitinous lamellae in the membranous layer. Crystalline polyhedron dimensions were significantly smaller near the boundary with the membranous layer. The borders between the carapace layers were indistinct; SBF-SEM revealed an abundance of epicuticle projections into the exocuticle and apparent gradual merging at the boundary of the exocuticle and the endocuticle. Here, we discuss how the S. lerneri carapace layer structure has evolved to serve a specific mechanical function, allowing surface protection and rigidity. In addition, we suggest that the lack of pigment and graduated layer boundaries contribute to the transparency of the carapace.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0025-3162
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 May 2022
Date of Acceptance: 7 December 2021
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2023 20:06

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