, Volume 131, Issue 3, pp 185–195 | Cite as

Musculature of Seison nebaliae Grube, 1861 and Paraseison annulatus (Claus, 1876) revealed with CLSM: a comparative study of the gnathiferan key taxon Seisonacea (Rotifera)

  • Francesca Leasi
  • Ricardo Cardoso Neves
  • Katrine Worsaae
  • Martin Vinther Sørensen
Original Paper


The somatic muscular systems of two species of Seisonacea (Rotifera), Seison nebaliae and Paraseison annulatus, are described using fluorescently labelled phalloidin in combination with confocal laser scanning microscopy. Their overall muscular arrangement is similar and consists of segmentally organised longitudinal fibres that extend the length of the body and are surrounded by semi-circular (= incomplete) bands. However, differences in the musculature between the two species are present and possibly reflect specific adaptations in feeding strategy and locomotion related to the occupation of individual niches on their host, the leptostracan crustacean N. bipes. For example, S. nebaliae has semi-circular muscles in the head region only, while P. annulatus possesses incomplete circular muscles also in the trunk region; furthermore, there are also differences in the arrangements and number of longitudinal muscles. The muscular systems of all rotifer species examined so far are compared in order to establish the ground pattern of the last putative ancestor as well as to seek for traits of systematic importance. Results from both species corroborate earlier hypotheses on the arrangement of muscles in the putative common ancestor of Rotifera, which suggested an orthogonal arrangement consisting of a series of probably continuous (not segmental) inner longitudinal muscles, surrounded by semi-circular fibres, ventrally opened. However, significant morphological and ecological variations among taxa investigated so far show that a consistent correlation between muscular traits and specific ecological features and/or phylogeny is still far from being clear. Hence, musculature of additional taxa, representing the systematic width and occupying a diverse range of habitats, should be investigated.


Comparative morphology Ecological adaptation Functional morphology Gnathifera Muscular ground pattern Seisonidae 



We are grateful to Gilles Maron and Andreas Hejnol for their crucial help during field collection. Significant and improving comments on an early version of the manuscript by A. Hejnol and Diego Fontaneto were very much appreciated. The authors would like to thank Birgen H. Rothe, other two anonymous reviewers and the editor Thomas Bartolomaeus for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper. Funding to support the collection in Roscoff was provided by EU programme ASSEMBLE—grant agreement no. 227799, while Encyclopedia of Life (Rubenstein Fellow 2011), Systematics Association (Systematics Research Fund 2011) and Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Royal Society Fellowship 2011) supported FL for her research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Leasi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ricardo Cardoso Neves
    • 3
    • 5
  • Katrine Worsaae
    • 4
  • Martin Vinther Sørensen
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of BiologyImperial College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Academy of Natural Science of Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.BiozentrumUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  4. 4.Marine Biological Section, Department of BiologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.Natural History Museum of DenmarkUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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