Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 363, Issue 3, pp 635–648 | Cite as

Olfactory pathway in Xibalbanus tulumensis: remipedian hemiellipsoid body as homologue of hexapod mushroom body

  • Torben Stemme
  • Thomas M. Iliffe
  • Gerd BickerEmail author
Regular Article


The Remipedia have been proposed to be the crustacean sister group of the Hexapoda. These blind cave animals heavily rely on their chemical sense and are thus rewarding subjects for the analysis of olfactory pathways. The evolution of these pathways as a character for arthropod phylogeny has recently received increasing attention. Here, we investigate the situation in Xibalbanus tulumensis by focal dye injections and immunolabelling of the catalytic subunit of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (DC0), an enzyme particularly enriched in insect mushroom bodies. DC0 labelling of the hemiellipsoid body suggests its subdivision into a cap-like and a core neuropil. Immunofluorescence of the enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), which synthesizes γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), has revealed a cluster of GABAergic interneurons in the hemiellipsoid body, reminiscent of the characteristic feedback neurons of the mushroom body. Thus, the hemiellipsoid body of Xibalbanus shares many of the characteristics of insect mushroom bodies. Nevertheless, the general neuroanatomy of the olfactory pathway in the Remipedia strongly corresponds to the malacostracan ground pattern. Given that the Remipedia are probably the sister group of the Hexapoda, the phylogenetic appearance of the typical neuropilar compartments in the insect mushroom body has to be assigned to the origins of the Hexapoda.


Brain Comparative neuroanatomy Morphology Lateral protocerebrum Tetraconata Xibalbanus tulumensis 



We thank Dr. Daniel Kalderon for the gift of the DC0 antibody. We are grateful to Hannah Scheiblich for sharing her expertise in western blot analysis with us. René Eickhoff and Michael Stern contributed stimulating discussions and helpful comments. A collecting permit for Remipedia was issued by SEMARNAT (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) to Thomas M. Iliffe via a permit to Dr. Fernando Alvarez (FAUT-0104). The landowner kindly gave permission to collect specimens on the site.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cell BiologyUniversity of Veterinary Medicine HannoverHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Department of Marine BiologyTexas A&M University at GalvestonGalvestonUSA

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