, 7:29,
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Date: 09 Nov 2010

Invertebrate neurophylogeny: suggested terms and definitions for a neuroanatomical glossary

Abstract

Background

Invertebrate nervous systems are highly disparate between different taxa. This is reflected in the terminology used to describe them, which is very rich and often confusing. Even very general terms such as 'brain', 'nerve', and 'eye' have been used in various ways in the different animal groups, but no consensus on the exact meaning exists. This impedes our understanding of the architecture of the invertebrate nervous system in general and of evolutionary transformations of nervous system characters between different taxa.

Results

We provide a glossary of invertebrate neuroanatomical terms with a precise and consistent terminology, taxon-independent and free of homology assumptions. This terminology is intended to form a basis for new morphological descriptions. A total of 47 terms are defined. Each entry consists of a definition, discouraged terms, and a background/comment section.

Conclusions

The use of our revised neuroanatomical terminology in any new descriptions of the anatomy of invertebrate nervous systems will improve the comparability of this organ system and its substructures between the various taxa, and finally even lead to better and more robust homology hypotheses.