High-resolution fate map of the snail Crepidula fornicata: The origins of ciliary bands, nervous system, and muscular elements

Andreas Hejnol, Mark Q. Martindale, Jonathan Q. Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The littorinimorph gastropod Crepidula fornicata shows a spiralian cleavage pattern and has been the subject of studies in experimental embryology, cell lineage, and the organization of the larval nervous system. To investigate the contribution of early blastomeres to the veliger larva, we used intracellular cell lineage tracers in combination with high-resolution confocal imaging. This study corroborates many features derived from other spiralian fate maps (such as the origins of the hindgut and mesoderm from the 4d mesentoblast), but also yields new findings, particularly with respect to the origins of internal structures, such as the nervous system and musculature that have never been described in detail. The ectomesoderm in C. fornicata is mainly formed by micromeres of the 3rd quartet (principally 3a and 3b), which presumably represents a plesiomorphic condition for molluscs. The larval central nervous system is mainly formed by the micromeres of the 1st and 2nd quartet, of which 1a, 1c, and 1d form the anterior apical ganglion and nerve tracks to the foot and velum, and 2b and 2d form the visceral loop and the mantle cell. Our study shows that both first and second velar ciliary bands are generated by the same cells that form the prototroch in other spiralians and apparently bear no homology to the metatroch found in annelids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-76
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2007


  • Cell lineage
  • Ciliary bands
  • Digestive tract
  • Ectomesoderm
  • Gastropod
  • Nervous system
  • Spiralia
  • Veliger larva

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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