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Observations on nutrition and ultrastructure of digestive tract and fat body of the giant paranthurid Accalathura gigantissima Kussakin


The giant Antarctic paranthurid Accalathura gigantissima Kussakin (Crustacea, Isopoda) is adapted towards the predation of amphipods, which are pierced and sucked out by means of specialized mouthparts. Oesophagus and stomach pump the food first into the highly dilatable hindgut, later the chyme is transported into the digestive glands, whereby larger particles are retained in the intestine by the filters of the stomach. The ultrastructure of the hindgut shows the features of a transporting epithelium, no indications for secretion of digestive enzymes, intracellular digestion or storage of lipids or glycogen could be found. The digestive glands have very active cells which are responsible for resorption and secretion, intracellular digestion and storage of lipids (probably triglycerides). Lipids are metabolized and transported without the presence of SER, which is replaced by RER. Adipose tissue is present between muscles and forms laterally and ventrally a hypodermal fat body that can be rather voluminous in female specimens. The adipocytes of the studied immature females contained besides lipids and glycogen a large number of electron-dense granula probably composed of lipoproteins, which might be precursors of yolk material.

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Wägele, J.W. Observations on nutrition and ultrastructure of digestive tract and fat body of the giant paranthurid Accalathura gigantissima Kussakin. Polar Biol 4, 33–43 (1985).

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  • Enzyme
  • Lipid
  • Triglyceride
  • Adipose Tissue
  • Active Cell