The swimming larva represents the dispersal phase of ascidians, marine invertebrates belonging to tunicates. Due to its adhesive papillae, the larva searches the substrate, adheres to it, and undergoes metamorphosis, thereby becoming a sessile filter feeding animal. The larva anatomy has been described in detail in a few species, revealing a different degree of adult structure differentiation, called adultation. In the solitary ascidian Halocynthia roretzi, a species reared for commercial purposes, embryogenesis has been described in detail, but information on the larval anatomy is still lacking. Here, we describe it using a comparative approach, utilizing 3D reconstruction, as well as histological/TEM observations, with attention to its papillae. The larva is comparable to those of other solitary ascidians, such as Ciona intestinalis. However, it displays a higher level of adultation for the presence of the atrium, opened outside by means of the atrial siphon, and the peribranchial chambers. It does not reach the level of complexity of the larva of Botryllus schlosseri, a phylogenetically close colonial ascidian. Our study reveals that the papillae of H. roretzi, previously described as simple and conform, exhibit dynamic changes during settlement. This opens up new considerations on papillae morphology and evolution and deserves to be further investigated.

Morphological study and 3D reconstruction of the larva of the ascidian halocynthia roretzi

Manni L.;Caicci F.;Anselmi C.;Vanni V.;
2022

Abstract

The swimming larva represents the dispersal phase of ascidians, marine invertebrates belonging to tunicates. Due to its adhesive papillae, the larva searches the substrate, adheres to it, and undergoes metamorphosis, thereby becoming a sessile filter feeding animal. The larva anatomy has been described in detail in a few species, revealing a different degree of adult structure differentiation, called adultation. In the solitary ascidian Halocynthia roretzi, a species reared for commercial purposes, embryogenesis has been described in detail, but information on the larval anatomy is still lacking. Here, we describe it using a comparative approach, utilizing 3D reconstruction, as well as histological/TEM observations, with attention to its papillae. The larva is comparable to those of other solitary ascidians, such as Ciona intestinalis. However, it displays a higher level of adultation for the presence of the atrium, opened outside by means of the atrial siphon, and the peribranchial chambers. It does not reach the level of complexity of the larva of Botryllus schlosseri, a phylogenetically close colonial ascidian. Our study reveals that the papillae of H. roretzi, previously described as simple and conform, exhibit dynamic changes during settlement. This opens up new considerations on papillae morphology and evolution and deserves to be further investigated.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3420008
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