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Comparative analysis of deutocerebral neuropils in Chilopoda (Myriapoda): implications for the evolution of the arthropod olfactory system and support for the Mandibulata concept

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-13-1

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Abstract:

Here, we examined the architecture of the deutocerebral brain areas (which process input from the antennae) in seven additional representatives of the Chilopoda, covering all major subtaxa, by histology, confocal laser-scan microscopy, and 3D reconstruction. We found that in all species that we studied the majority of antennal afferents target two separate neuropils, the olfactory lobe (chemosensory, composed of glomerular neuropil compartments) and the corpus lamellosum (mechanosensory). The numbers of olfactory glomeruli in the different chilopod taxa ranged from ca. 35 up to ca. 90 and the shape of the glomeruli ranged from spheroid across ovoid or drop-shape to elongate.A split of the afferents from the (first) pair of antennae into separate chemosensory and mechanosensory components is also typical for Crustacea and Hexapoda, but this set of characters is absent in Chelicerata. We suggest that this character set strongly supports the Mandibulata hypothesis (Myriapoda + (Crustacea + Hexapoda)) as opposed to the Myriochelata concept (Myriapoda + Chelicerata). The evolutionary implications of our findings, particularly the plasticity of glomerular shape, are discussed.In arthropod phylogeny the emerging consensus is that Myriapoda are not to be considered the closest relatives of Hexapoda anymore (Tracheata concept), but rather that hexapods constitute a sister group or even an in-group of Crustacea (Tetraconata concept; e.g. [1-4]). Hence, it seems well established that from a marine ancestor of Euarthropoda, members of the Chelicerata as well as the Myriapoda and Hexapoda invaded land independently from each other [5,6]. The successful transition from marine to terrestrial life requires a number of physiological adaptations that are important for survival out of water. The sensory organs of terrestrial species must be able to function in air rather than in water and hence were exposed to new selection pressures that may have reshaped the nervous system (see e.g.

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