Kerbl, Alexandra; Bekkouche, Nicholas; Sterrer, Wolfgang; Worsaae, Katrine. (2015). Detailed reconstruction of the nervous and muscular system of Lobatocerebridae with an evaluation of its annelid affinity. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 15(1): 34pp.
Detailed reconstruction of the nervous and muscular system of Lobatocerebridae with an evaluation of its annelid affinity
BMC Evolutionary Biology
World Polychaeta Database (WPolyDb)
Background: The microscopic worm group Lobatocerebridae has been regarded a 'problematicum', with the systematic relationship being highly debated until a recent phylogenomic study placed them within annelids (Curr Biol 25: 2000-2006, 2015). To date, a morphological comparison with other spiralian taxa lacks detailed information on the nervous and muscular system, which is here presented for Lobatocerebrum riegeri n. sp. based on immunohistochemistry and confocal laser scanning microscopy, supported by TEM and live observations. Results: The musculature is organized as a grid of longitudinal muscles and transverse muscular ring complexes in the trunk. The rostrum is supplied by longitudinal muscles and only a few transverse muscles. The intraepidermal central nervous system consists of a big, multi-lobed brain, nine major nerve bundles extending anteriorly into the rostrum and two lateral and one median cord extending posteriorly to the anus, connected by five commissures. The glandular epidermis has at least three types of mucus secreting glands and one type of adhesive unicellular glands. Conclusions: No exclusive "annelid characters" could be found in the neuromuscular system of Lobatocerebridae, except for perhaps the mid-ventral nerve. However, none of the observed structures disputes its position within this group. The neuromuscular and glandular system of L. riegeri n. sp. shows similarities to those of meiofaunal annelids such as Dinophilidae and Protodrilidae, yet likewise to Gnathostomulida and catenulid Platyhelminthes, all living in the restrictive interstitial environment among sand grains. It therefore suggests an extreme evolutionary plasticity of annelid nervous and muscular architecture, previously regarded as highly conservative organ systems throughout metazoan evolution