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Type: Article
Published: 2020-12-28
Page range: 209–221
Abstract views: 384
PDF downloaded: 213

Transformative notochaetae: larval development and metamorphosis in Chrysopetalum spp. (Chrysopetalinae: Chrysopetalidae: Annelida)

Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Box 4646, Darwin, 0801, NT, Australia
Annelida larval morphology adult morphology transformative notochaetae Chrysopetalinae


The morphology of an early nectochaete larva belonging to Chrysopetalum sp. is aligned with that of a planktotrophic larva at a crucial stage of benthic settlement: an entire provisional spinose notochaetal scleritome, large episphere with prostomial nascent sensory structures and larval podia and cirri of the anterior two segments in transition. Morphological sequences of post-larvae and juveniles, common to a number of Chrysopetalum species, indicate that long, slender, provisional, camerate notochaetal spines are replaced during metamorphosis and growth with an entire adult, camerate notochaetal scleritome consisting of broad paleae with internal, longitudinal ribs. The Chrysopetalum sp. six segment larva supports achaetous notopodia I and chaetous notopodia II, each with a pair of dorsal cirri, ie. 4 cirri in total; segment II has acirrose neuropodia. Individuals of post-larvae and juvenile Chrysopetalum species, 8–15 segments, possess a total of 6 cirri on segments I and II: segment I with a pair of tentacular dorsal cirri and the formation of a pair of tentacular ventral cirri, and segment II comprising a pair of dorsal cirri, spinous notochaetae and acirrose neuropodia. During metamorphosis the acirrous neuropodia of segment II are reabsorbed and replaced in stages with a pair of ventral tentacular cirri until the adult state is achieved: achaetous segment 1 with two pairs of tentacular cirri and segment II similar, ie. total of 8 cirri. The cirri arrangement of segments I and II before final metamorphosis in post-larval stages of Chrysopetalum species is, interestingly, that described for adults in the majority of other Chrysopetalinae taxa. Ontogenetic developmental processes of formation and loss of acirrose neuropodia and replacement of spinose larval notochaetae with adult paleae observed in Chrysopetalum species are compared with species of other taxa of the Chrysopetalinae.


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