Law, Chris J.; Dorgan, Kelly M.; Rouse, Greg W. (2014). Relating divergence in polychaete musculature to different burrowing behaviors: A study using opheliidae (Annelida). Journal of Morphology. 275(5):548–571.
Relating divergence in polychaete musculature to different burrowing behaviors: A study using opheliidae (Annelida)
Journal of Morphology
World Polychaeta Database (WPolyDb)
Divergent morphologies among related species are often correlated with distinct behaviors and habitat uses. Considerable morphological and behavioral differences are found between two major clades within the polychaete family Opheliidae. For instance, Thoracophelia mucronata burrows by peristalsis, whereas Armandia brevis exhibits undulatory burrowing. We investigate the anatomical differences that allow for these distinct burrowing behaviors, then interpret these differences in an evolutionary context using broader phylogenetic (DNA-based) and morphological analyses of Opheliidae and taxa, such as Scalibregmatidae and Polygordiidae. Histological three-dimensional-reconstruction of A. brevis reveals bilateral longitudinal muscle bands as the prominent musculature of the body. Circular muscles are absent; instead oblique muscles act with unilateral contraction of longitudinal muscles to bend the body during undulation. The angle of helical fibers in the cuticle is consistent with the fibers supporting turgidity of the body rather than resisting radial expansion from longitudinal muscle contraction. Circular muscles are present in the anterior of T. mucronata, and they branch away from the body wall to form oblique muscles. Helical fibers in the cuticle are more axially oriented than those in undulatory burrowers, facilitating radial expansion during peristalsis. A transition in musculature accompanies the change in external morphology from the thorax to the abdomen, which has oblique muscles similar to A. brevis. Muscles in the muscular septum, which extends posteriorly to form the injector organ, act in synchrony with the body wall musculature during peristalsis: they contract to push fluid anteriorly and expand the head region following a direct peristaltic wave of the body wall muscles. The septum of A. brevis is much thinner and is presumably used for eversion of a nonmuscular pharynx. Mapping of morphological characters onto the molecular-based phylogeny shows close links between musculature and behavior, but less correlation with habitat.