Stages and other aspects of the embryology of the parthenogenetic Marmorkrebs (Decapoda, Reptantia, Astacida)
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The early development of the parthenogenetic Marmorkrebs (marbled crayfish) is described with respect to external morphology, cell lineage, and segment formation. Due to its parthenogenetic reproduction mode, the question arises whether or not the marbled crayfish is a suitable model organism for developmental approaches. To address this question, we describe several aspects of the embryonic development until hatching. We establish ten stages based on characteristic external changes in the living eggs such as blastoderm formation, gastrulation process, formation and differentiation of the naupliar and post-naupliar segments, limb bud differentiation, and eye differentiation. The study of the post-naupliar cell division patterns, segment formation, and engrailed expression reveals distinct similarities to that of other freshwater crayfish. On this basis, we evaluate the possibility of a generalization of ontogenetic processes in the Marmorkrebs for either freshwater crayfish or other crustacean developmental systems.