The mushroom bodies – prominent brain centres of arthropods and annelids with enigmatic evolutionary origin

Authors


  • Extended abstract of a talk presented at the First International Congress on Invertebrate Morphology held 2008 in Copenhagen

Rudi Loesel, Institute for Zoology, Unit of Developmental Biology and Morphology of Animals, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany. E-mail: loesel@bio2.rwth-aachen.de)

Abstract

Loesel, R. and Heuer, C.M. 2010. The mushroom bodies – prominent brain centres of arthropods and annelids with enigmatic evolutionary origin. —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 91: 29–34

Mushroom bodies (MBs) are the most prominent and conspicuous neuropils in the brain of arthropods, onychophorans and vagile polychaete annelids but have not been described in any other animal group with complex brain architecture. Due to a number of unique neuroanatomical characters MBs can easily be identified and distinguished from other brain centres. However, their evolutionary origin and the question whether MBs are homologous structures is still under debate. This paper will briefly summarize the available morphological data and their implications with respect to the molecular evidence on early metazoan radiation. Unraveling the origin of MBs is an example of the challenges neurophylogenists will face in the future, especially so since it will signify a major step towards reconstructing early metazoan brain evolution.

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