• Lysmata amboinensis;
  • cleaner shrimp larvae;
  • mouthpart morphology;
  • gut development;
  • larval nutrition


Mouthpart and alimentary canal development was examined in Lysmata amboinensis larvae using scanning electron microscopy and histology. The gross morphological features of external mouthparts and internal digestive tract structures of larvae at different developmental stages indicate that ingestive and digestive capabilities are well developed from early on. With increasing age of the larvae the mouthpart appendages increased in size, the hepatopancreas in tubular density and the midgut in length. The density of setae and robustness of teeth and spines of individual structures increased. The most pronounced changes from early to late stage larvae involved formation of pores on the paragnaths and labrum, transformation of the mandibular spine-like teeth to molar cusps, development of the filter press in the proventriculus and of infoldings in the previously straight hindgut. The results suggest that early stage L. amboinensis larvae may benefit from soft, perhaps gelatinous prey, whereas later stages are better equipped to handle larger, muscular or more fibrous foods. J. Morphol. 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.