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Hepatopancreatic endosymbionts in coastal isopods (Crustacea: Isopoda), and their contribution to digestion
Zimmer, M.; Danko, J.P.; Pennings, S.C.; Danford, A.R.; Ziegler, A.; Uglow, R.F.; Carefoot, T.H. (2001). Hepatopancreatic endosymbionts in coastal isopods (Crustacea: Isopoda), and their contribution to digestion. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 138(5): 955-963. 10.1007/s002270000519
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Zimmer, M.
  • Danko, J.P.
  • Pennings, S.C.
  • Danford, A.R.
  • Ziegler, A.
  • Uglow, R.F.
  • Carefoot, T.H.

    Three isopod species (Crustacea: Isopoda), commonly found in the intertidal and supratidal zones of the North American Pacific coast, were studied with respect to symbiotic microbiota in their midgut glands (hepatopancreas). Ligia pallasii (Oniscidea: Ligiidae) contained high numbers of microbial symbionts in its hepatopancreatic caeca. Numbers of endosymbionts were strongly reduced by ingestion of antibiotics. By contrast, the hepatopancreas of Idotea wosnesenskii (Valvifera: Idoteidae) and Gnorimosphaeroma oregonense (Sphaeromatidea: Sphaeromatidae) did not contain any microbiota. Results of feeding experiments suggest that microbial endosymbionts contribute to digestive processes in L. pallasii, the most terrestrial of the three isopods that we studied. The acquisition of digestion-enhancing endosymbionts may have been an important evolutionary step allowing isopods to colonize terrestrial habitats where relatively indigestible leaf litter is the primary food source. By contrast, the ability to digest phenolic compounds was most developed in one of the more marine species, suggesting that this trait may have evolved independently in isopod species that consume a phenolic-rich diet, whether in marine habitats or on land.

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