Get access

Turning snails into slugs: induced body plan changes and formation of an internal shell

Authors

  • Raphaela Osterauer,

    1. Animal Physiological Ecology Department, Institute of Evolution and Ecology, University of Tübingen, Konrad-Adenauer-Str. 20, D-72072 Tübingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Leonie Marschner,

    1. Animal Physiological Ecology Department, Institute of Evolution and Ecology, University of Tübingen, Konrad-Adenauer-Str. 20, D-72072 Tübingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Oliver Betz,

    1. Department of Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates, Institute of Evolution and Ecology, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28E, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Matthias Gerberding,

    1. Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstr. 35, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 1Present address: Institute of Zoology, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstr. 30, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany.

  • Banthita Sawasdee,

    1. Animal Physiological Ecology Department, Institute of Evolution and Ecology, University of Tübingen, Konrad-Adenauer-Str. 20, D-72072 Tübingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Peter Cloetens,

    1. European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, B.P. 220, F-38043 Grenoble, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nadine Haus,

    1. Department of Applied Zoology/Hydrobiology, Institute of Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstr. 5, 45141 Essen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Bernd Sures,

    1. Department of Applied Zoology/Hydrobiology, Institute of Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstr. 5, 45141 Essen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Rita Triebskorn,

    1. Animal Physiological Ecology Department, Institute of Evolution and Ecology, University of Tübingen, Konrad-Adenauer-Str. 20, D-72072 Tübingen, Germany
    2. Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology, Blumenstrasse 13, 72108 Rottenburg, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Heinz-R. Köhler

    Corresponding author
    1. Animal Physiological Ecology Department, Institute of Evolution and Ecology, University of Tübingen, Konrad-Adenauer-Str. 20, D-72072 Tübingen, Germany
      *Author for correspondence (email: heinz-r.koehler@uni-tuebingen.de)
    Search for more papers by this author

*Author for correspondence (email: heinz-r.koehler@uni-tuebingen.de)

Abstract

SUMMARY The archetypal body plan of conchiferan molluscs is characterized by an external calcareous shell, though internalization of shells has evolved independently in a number of molluscan clades, including gastropod families. In gastropods, the developmental process of torsion is regarded as a hallmark that is associated with a new anatomical configuration. This configuration is present in extant prosobranch gastropod species, which predominantly bear external shells. Here, we show that short-term exposure to platinum during development uncouples at least two of the processes associated with torsion of the freshwater snail Marisa cornuarietis. That is, the anus of the treated snails is located anteriorly, but the gill and the designated mantle tissue remains in a posterior location, thus preventing the formation of an external shell. In contrast to the prosobranchian archetype, platinum treatment results in the formation of a posterior gill and a cone-shaped internal shell, which persists across the lifetime. This first finding of artificially induced snail-slug conversion was also seen in the pulmonate snail Planorbarius corneus and demonstrates that selective alteration of embryonic key processes can result in fundamental changes of an existing body plan and—if altered regulation is inherited—may give rise to a new one.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary