The structure of the ostracode carapace



The carapace ultrastructure of three Recent [Heterocypris incongruens (Ramdohr), Cypridopsis uidua (Müller), and Conchoecia belgica Müller] and one Cretaceous ostracode species [Cypridea propunctata Sylvester-Bradley] has been studied by means of standard electron microscope techniques. The carapace is shown to be an organic structure divisible into an outer epicuticle, a median exocuticle and an inner endocuticle in the three cypridacean ostracodes examined. In Conchoecia belgica only an outer epicuticle and an inner endocuticle were observed, but this may be due to preservation. The chitin structure of the carapace of calcareous ostracodes is shown to be essentially an interlocking lattice, more coarsely developed in the exocuticle; layered (lamellar) chitin is only present in the selvage and in the connective tissue joining the valves at the hinge. The non-calcareous Conchoecia belgica possesses the layered chitin structure common to other crustaceans and to insects. The relationship of the carapace structure to that present in the decapod and insect exoskeleton is discussed. The technical problems met with during this study are considered in order to outline the difficulties associated with the study of organisms of this size.