Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Still alive? Fine structure of the barrels made by Phronima (Crustacea: Amphipoda)

  • Euichi Hirose (a1), Masakazu N. Aoki (a2) and Jun Nishikawa (a3)

Amphipods of the genus Phronima are known to make a barrel-shaped house from the gelatinous matrix of pelagic tunicates or siphonophores. Among the seven barrels examined here, one barrel of Phronima curvipes was supposed to be made from a swimming bell of a siphonophore based on its morphology, while the other six barrels made by P. sedentaria were immunochemically and/or morphologically identified as tunicates (i.e. Thetys vagina, other salps and pyrosomas). Histological observation showed that the phronimids had completely eaten the animal tissues other than the gelatinous matrix (i.e. tunic or mesoglea). Tunic cells were found in the tunicate barrel and some were probably tunic phagocytes that appeared to be alive and functional. In the tunicate barrels, cuticular layers of the tunic were found on both the outer and inner side of the barrel wall. Tunic cuticle would be regenerated on the inner side after the epidermis was grazed by the phronimids. The cuticular layers would protect the tunic matrix from the invasion of microorganisms. In the barrel supposed to originate from Thetys vagina, there are minute protrusions on the tunic cuticle as found in the intact tunic of this species. In the barrel from a siphonophore, neither cells nor cuticle regeneration were found. No bacteria were observed in the barrel, suggesting that the barrel has some antibiotic system.

Corresponding author
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 13 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 72 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.