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Particle sorting and formation and elimination of pseudofaeces in the bivalves Mulinia edulis (siphonate) and Mytilus chilensis (asiphonate)

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Abstract

Mulinia edulis and Mytilus chilensis are suspension-feeding bivalves with homorhabdic gills that live in different sedimentary habitats in the lower and upper intertidal, respectively, in Yaldad Bay, Chile. They are faced with different suspended particle size distributions when feeding, and both eliminate most of the inorganic particles by pseudofaeces production. This study used histology, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and video endoscopy to compare particle processing on the labial palps and the mechanisms of particle sorting, acceptance, and rejection in the two species. In both species, disaggregation of mucus-bound particles occurs on the plicate surface of the palps. Particles destined for ingestion pass anteriorly from crest to crest and reach the mouth via the palp acceptance tract. Those destined for rejection enter the troughs between the plicae and move ventrally to the palp rejection tract. The palps manipulate the pseudofaeces into a mucous ball, which is transferred to the mantle rejection tract. In Mulinia edulis (an infaunal, siphonate mactrid), the pseudofaeces are stored in a chamber at the base of the inhalant siphon until expelled by intermittent contraction of the siphon wall. In contrast, Mytilus chilensis (an epifaunal, non-siphonate mytilid) releases pseudofaeces continuously when submerged.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by Fondo Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, Chile, Fondecyt 1000427 to JMN and Fondecyt 1100335 to ORC.

Author information

Correspondence to O. R. Chaparro.

Additional information

Communicated by J. P. Grassle.

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Garrido, M.V., Chaparro, O.R., Thompson, R.J. et al. Particle sorting and formation and elimination of pseudofaeces in the bivalves Mulinia edulis (siphonate) and Mytilus chilensis (asiphonate). Mar Biol 159, 987–1000 (2012) doi:10.1007/s00227-012-1879-8

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Keywords

  • Suspended Particulate Matter
  • Mantle Cavity
  • Labial Palp
  • Storage Chamber
  • Particle Sorting