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Morphology of the Conglutinate of the Kidneyshell Freshwater Mussel, Ptychobranchus fasciolaris

G. Thomas Watters
Invertebrate Biology
Vol. 118, No. 3 (Summer, 1999), pp. 289-295
Published by: Wiley on behalf of American Microscopical Society
DOI: 10.2307/3226998
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3226998
Page Count: 7
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Morphology of the Conglutinate of the Kidneyshell Freshwater Mussel, Ptychobranchus fasciolaris
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Abstract

Many freshwater mussels of the family Unionidae form conglutinates, specialized packets of parasitic glochidia that often mimic host prey items. Conglutinates of the kidneyshell, Ptychobranchus fasciolaris, resemble either insect larvae or fish fry. These structures, examined with light and scanning electron microscopy, are composed of three acellular layers separated by fluid or mucoidal layers. Regions of the conglutinate that appear to mimic eyes are shown to be particularly thin areas that readily rupture and liberate glochidia. Thus, elaboration of mimicry characteristics, such as "eyes," is accompanied by functional differentiation of regions of the conglutinate.

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