Previous studies of neurogenic activity in the thoracic neuromeres of indirect developing crustaceans indicated that the temporal patterns of neurogenesis can be correlated with the appearance of the thoracic appendages during larval and metamorphic development. To test further the idea that the temporal patterns of neurogenesis in crustaceans are related to their life histories, we examined neurogenesis in the ventral nerve cord of a direct developing crustacean, the freshwater crayfish Cherax destructor, whose life history contains neither larval stages nor metamorphoses. Neurogenesis was examined using the in vivo incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine into DNA. During late embryonic development the thoracic neuromeres of the crayfish contain arrays of mitotically active neuroblasts similar to those previously described in the spider crab and lobster. The arrays in the crayfish abdomen are, however, greatly reduced compared with those of the thorax. On hatching, both the thoracic and abdominal appendages of C. destructor are capable of movement. The pleopods, however, do not beat rhythmically until the second postembryonic stage whereas the pereiopods are not used in coordinated walking movements until the third stage. An examination of the time course of neurogenesis in the ventral nerve cord revealed that neurogenic activity in each neuromere ceases during or before the moult to the developmental stage in which its segmental appendage is first used in coordinated movements. These findings indicate that the patterns of neurogenesis in crustaceans are indeed related to the maturation of the segmental appendages and, in particular, to the maturation of motor behaviours.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology