Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 2901–2916 | Cite as

The anatomy of the miniature predator Trigonulina ornata d’Orbigny, 1853 (Bivalvia: Anomalodesmata: Verticordiidae) from continental shelf waters off Brazil

  • Brian Morton
  • Fabrizio Marcondes MachadoEmail author
  • Flávio Dias Passos
Original Paper


The anatomy of one of the smallest non-septate carnivorous bivalves is described herein and is the first anatomical study of a member of the genus Trigonulina. This paper shows that similar to other verticordiids, Trigonulina ornata d’Orbigny, 1853 possesses a suite of anatomical features that include a prey-capturing inhalant siphon, a septum, an absence of labial palps and capacious mouth, which characterize it as a carnivorous marine bivalve. A discussion about the origin of the septibranch septum is provided showing that the condition seen in T. ornata could be representative of the transition within the Anomalodesmata between suspension-feeding type E ctenidia and the non-filamentar septibranch condition. Finally, fertilized and encapsulated eggs within the visceral mass, the presence of hypobranchial glands plus larval prodissoconch size collectively suggest self-fertilization and the possible early brooding behaviour by T. ornata.


septibranch prey capture and processing reproductive strategy self-fertilization internal brooding 



Thanks are due to A.C.S. Sprogis and S.M.F. Ferraz (Laboratory of Microscopy, IB/UNICAMP) for providing the microscopical assistance. The authors would also like to thank Dr E.E. Strong (USNM, Washington D.C.) for loaning them museum lots of Verticordiidae from Pacific waters. Thanks also to Dr M. Borges and the entire staff of the Museum of Zoology-ZUEC (UNICAMP, Brazil) for the assistance in sending specimens and histological slides abroad.


This work was carried out with the logistical and financial support provided by CENPES/Petrobras under the ‘HABITATS and AMBES’ Projects. Financial support was provided by a scholarship from CAPES awarded to F.M. Machado and by FAPESP in association with the Thematic Project BIOTA-ZUEC (Process n° 2018/10313-0).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

No animal testing was performed during this study.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements, if applicable.

Data availability

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).

Supplementary material

12526_2019_1017_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia AnimalUniversidade Estadual de Campinas - UNICAMPCampinasBrazil
  3. 3.Instituto de Biologia, Departamento de Biologia AnimalUniversidade Estadual de Campinas - UNICAMPCampinasBrazil

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