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Carsten Wolff (2009)

The embryonic development of the malacostracan crustacean Emphasis Type="Italic"Porcellio scaber/Emphasis (Isopoda, Oniscidea)

Development Genes and Evolution, 219(11-12):545-564.

To examine the evolution of development and put it into a phylogenetic context, it is important to have, in addition to a model organism like Drosophila, more insights into the huge diversity of arthropod morphologies. In recent years, the malacostracan crustacean Porcellio scaber Latreille, 1804 has become a popular animal for studies in evolutionary and developmental biology, but a detailed and complete description of its embryonic development is still lacking. Therefore, the embryonic development of the woodlouse P. scaber is described in a series of discrete stages easily identified by examination of living animals and the widely used technique of nuclei staining on fixed specimens. It starts with the first cleavage of the zygote and ends with a hatched manca that eventually leaves the mother’s brood pouch. Classical methods like normal light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy are used, in addition to confocal LCM and computer-aided 3D reconstruction in order to visualise important processes during ontogeny. The purpose of these studies is to offer an easy way to define the different degrees of development for future comparative analyses of embryonic development amongst crustaceans in particular, as well as between different arthropod groups. In addition, several aspects of Porcellio embryonic development, such as the mouth formation, limb differentiations and modifications or the formation of the digestive tract, make this species particularly interesting for future studies in evolutionary and developmental biology.

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