The protegulum and juvenile shell of a Recent articulate brachiopod: patterns of growth and chemical composition



Patterns of shell formation and the chemical composition of the shell deposited during early post-larval life were investigated in laboratory-reared cultures of the Recent articulate brachiopod Terebraralia transversa (Sowerby). A non-hinged protegulum averaging 148 pm in length is secreted by the mantle within a day after larval metamorphosis. The inner surface of the protegulum exhibits finely granular, non-fibrous material. A rudimentary periostracum constitutes the outer layer of the primordial shell. and concentrically arranged growth lines are lacking. By four days post-metamorphosis, a brephic type of juvenile shell develops from periodic additions of shell material to the anterior and lateral edges of the protegulum. Imbricated secondary fibers occur throughout the inner layer of the newly formed juvenile shell, and a rudimentary hinge apparatus is present posteriorly. The external surface of the shell exhibits concentric growth lines anterior to the caudally situated protegulum, and unbranched punctae begin to form in the subperiostracal region of the shell. At 23 days post-metamorphosis, the shell weighs an average of 1.7 μg and measures 318 μm in length. Electron microprobe analyses reveal that the protegulum is calcified. Minor amounts of sulfur, magnesium, iron, chlorine, aluminum, and silicon are also present in protegula and juvenile shells. Based on electron diffraction data, the mineral phase of juvenile shells consists of calcite, and protegula also appear to contain calcite.