Functional morphology of the gastric mills of carnivorous, omnivorous, and herbivorous land crabs

Allardyce, Benjamin J. and Linton, Stuart M. 2010, Functional morphology of the gastric mills of carnivorous, omnivorous, and herbivorous land crabs, Journal of Morphology, vol. 271, no. 1, pp. 61-72.

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Title Functional morphology of the gastric mills of carnivorous, omnivorous, and herbivorous land crabs
Author(s) Allardyce, Benjamin J.
Linton, Stuart M.
Journal name Journal of Morphology
Volume number 271
Issue number 1
Start page 61
End page 72
Total pages 12
Publisher John Wiley and Sons
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2010
ISSN 0362-2525
1097-4687
Keyword(s) brachyuran
anomuran
digestion
gastric mill morphology
terrestrial adaptation
Summary Terrestrial decapods consume a wide variety of plant and animal material. The potential adaptations of carnivorous, omnivorous, and herbivorous terrestrial crustaceans were studied by examining the functional morphology of the gastric mill. Two closely related species from each feeding preference group were examined to identify which features of the mill were due to phylogeny and which were due to adaptation. The morphology of the gastric mill matched the diet well; the gastric mills of the carnivorous species (Geograpsus grayi and Geograpsus crinipes) possessed a blunt, rounded medial tooth and flattened lateral teeth with a longitudinal grinding groove. These features make them well suited to a carnivorous diet of soft animal tissue as well as hard material, such as arthropod exoskeleton. In contrast, the mill of the herbivorous gecarcinids (Gecarcoidea natalis and Discoplax hirtipes) consisted of a medial tooth with sharp transverse ridges and lateral teeth with sharp interlocking cusps and ridges and no grinding surface. These features would efficiently shred fibrous plant material. The morphology of the mill of the omnivorous coenobitids (Coenobita perlatus and Birgus latro) was more generalized toward a mixed diet. However, the mill of B. latro was more adapted to deal with highly nutritious food items, such as nuts and heavily calcified decapods. Its mill possessed lateral teeth with extended ridges, which sat close to the calcified cardiopyloric valve to form a flattened floor. Hard items trapped in the mill would be crushed against this surface by the medial tooth.
Notes Published Online: 21 Jul 2009
Language eng
Field of Research 060808 Invertebrate Biology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, John Wiley and Sons
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30018577

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Created: Tue, 08 Sep 2009, 17:02:29 EST by Stuart Linton

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