The fine structure of the pallial eyes of Laternula truncata (Bivalvia: Anomalodesmata: Pandoracea)



The structure of the pallial eyes of Laternula truncata (Lamarck 1818) has been studied using the light and electron microscopes. The eye is complex and can be- considered to be- the most advanced yet described for a bivalve mollusc. The cornea consists of modified flattened epithelial cells with an external border of microvilli. The cornea covers a large, circular, multinucleate lens. The lens comprises (1) centrally located translucent lens cells, (2) laterally located supporting cells from which cell processes interdigitate with processes from the lens cells. The retina is two layered and inverted. The proximal and distal retinae are made up of concentrically arranged laminae derived from the membranes of ciliary basal bodies. The cilia comprise a base and feet, but no root system and have a 9+0 arrangement of filaments.

The pigment cup or tapetum is bounded by a sclerotic coat and is three layered, each layer possessing characteristic pigment granules. From the base of the eye arises a large optic nerve.

The eye possesses an eye appendage, the epithelium of which is invaginated on its internal border to form a groove within which are found some 28 cilia. The cilia, it is thought, make contact with the microvilli of the epithelium when the appendage is touched. Such an action serves to protect the delicate eye from damage.

The structure of the eye is compared with that of other molluscs, particularly members of the Bivalvia.