Refereed Article Evolution of the female cuticular organ in the Asellota (Crustacea,Isopoda)

Citation: Wilson, G. D. F. 1986. Evolution of the female cuticular organ in the Asellota (Crustacea,Isopoda). Journal of Morphology. 190. 297-305.


In an effort to understand the variation and probable origin of a female copulatory organ found in isopods of the asellote superfamily Janiroidea, the morphology of female reproductive structures among the Asellota was surveyed. Examples of four asellote superfamilies were studied using whole mount staining after potassium-hydroxide maceration or clearing with lactic acid. In contradiction to previous conclusions, the cuticular organ is shown to occur in the more primitive Asellota, although the position of its opening varies considerably. In the genera Asellus, and Stenetrium, Munna, and Santia, the cuticular organ originates adjacent to the oopore, and in the remaining janiroidean isopods, it is placed dorsally and usually anteriorly. This information permits a simple hypothesis explaining the origin of the cuticular organ: it was present in the proximate ancestor of the Asellota and evolved to the janiroidean condition by anterodorsal migration.

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