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Keywords:

  • adhesive system;
  • sucker;
  • glue;
  • morphology

Abstract

Adhesion in cephalopods is either mechanical, involving a reduced-pressure system of the arm and tentacle suckers, or is chemically mediated by special adhesive gland structures (as proposed for Euprymna, Idiosepius, and Nautilus). Four species of Sepia (S. typica, S. papillata, S. pulchra, and S. tuberculata) possess grooved structures on the ventral mantle surface and on the fourth arm pair, which are used to attach mechanically to the substratum. Because these areas are often partly covered with sand or debris, it has been hypothesized that chemical substances were involved in this attachment process. This study provides a histochemical and ultrastructural description of the glandular epithelium in the adhesive area of Sepia tuberculata. Two specific glandular cells (Type 1 and Type 2) are present in the epithelium, which differ clearly in their granule size and cellular structure. The aggregation of both cell types and their simultaneous secretion suggest that the secretions of both cell types work synergistically providing a two-component adhesive system which supports the primarily mechanical sucker adhesion by making the arm surface sticky. J. Morphol. 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.