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Zoological Letters

Tatsuya Hirasawa, Shigeru Kuratani
While skeletal evolution has been extensively studied, the evolution of limb muscles and brachial plexus has received less attention. In this review, we focus on the tempo and mode of evolution of forelimb muscles in the vertebrate history, and on the developmental mechanisms that have affected the evolution of their morphology. Tetrapod limb muscles develop from diffuse migrating cells derived from dermomyotomes, and the limb-innervating nerves lose their segmental patterns to form the brachial plexus distally...
2018: Zoological Letters
Yuki Kutaragi, Atsushi Tokuoka, Yasuaki Tomiyama, Motoki Nose, Takayuki Watanabe, Tetsuya Bando, Yoshiyuki Moriyama, Kenji Tomioka
Background: Entrainment to the environmental light cycle is an essential property of the circadian clock. Although the compound eye is known to be the major photoreceptor necessary for entrainment in many insects, the molecular mechanisms of photic entrainment remain to be explored. Results: We found  that cryptochrome s ( cry s) and c-fos mediate photic entrainment of the circadian clock in a hemimetabolous insect, the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus . We examined the effects of RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown of the cry genes, Gb'cry1 and Gb'cry2 , on photic entrainment, and light-induced resetting of the circadian locomotor rhythm...
2018: Zoological Letters
Haruka Nakagawa, Kiyono Sekii, Takanobu Maezawa, Makoto Kitamura, Soichiro Miyashita, Marina Abukawa, Midori Matsumoto, Kazuya Kobayashi
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1186/s40851-018-0096-9.].
2018: Zoological Letters
Yang An, Akane Kawaguchi, Chen Zhao, Atsushi Toyoda, Ali Sharifi-Zarchi, Seyed Ahmad Mousavi, Reza Bagherzadeh, Takeshi Inoue, Hajime Ogino, Asao Fujiyama, Hamidreza Chitsaz, Hossein Baharvand, Kiyokazu Agata
Background: Planarians are non-parasitic Platyhelminthes (flatworms) famous for their regeneration ability and for having a well-organized brain. Dugesia japonica is a typical planarian species that is widely distributed in the East Asia. Extensive cellular and molecular experimental methods have been developed to identify the functions of thousands of genes in this species, making this planarian a good experimental model for regeneration biology and neurobiology. However, no genome-level information is available for D...
2018: Zoological Letters
J Matthias Starck, Lisa Mehnert, Anja Biging, Juliana Bjarsch, Sandra Franz-Guess, Daniel Kleeberger, Marie Hörnig
Background: Ticks can survive long periods without feeding but, when feeding, ingest large quantities of blood, resulting in a more than 100-fold increase of body volume. We study morphological adaptations to changes in opisthosoma volume during feeding in the castor bean tick, Ixodes ricinus . We aim to understand the functional morphological features that accommodate enormous changes in volume changes. Methods: Using light and electron microscopy, we compare the cuticle and epidermis of the alloscutum, the epithelium of the midgut diverticula, and the tracheae of adult female ticks when fasting, semi-engorged, and fully engorged...
2018: Zoological Letters
Eri Okamoto, Hieu Van Mai, Atsushi Ishimatsu, Mikiko Tanaka
Background: Mudskippers are amphibious fishes that use their pectoral fins to move on land. Their pectoral fins are specifically modified for terrestrial locomotion. Studies of the anatomy and kinematics of adult mudskippers suggest that modifications of the pectoral fins, such as their protrusion and elongation of the proximal radials, may provide greater control and flexibility in pectoral fin-based locomotion. However, it is unknown when and how the unique features of these pectoral fins form during the development of mudskippers, which begin life as a planktonic organism...
2018: Zoological Letters
Yuko Matsuo, Amami Yamanaka, Ryota Matsuo
Background: The terrestrial slug Limax has long been used as a model for the study of olfactory information processing and odor learning. Olfactory inputs from the olfactory epithelium are processed in the tentacular ganglion and then in the procerebrum. Glutamate and acetylcholine are the major neurotransmitters used in the procerebrum. Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2 (FMRFamide) has been shown to be involved in the regulation of the network activity of the procerebrum. Although there are thought to be various RFamide family peptides other than FMRFamide that are potentially recognized by anti-FMRFamide antibody in the central nervous system of mollusks, identifying the entire repertoire of RFamide peptides in Limax has yet to be achieved...
2018: Zoological Letters
Antonio Cádiz, Nobuaki Nagata, Luis M Díaz, Yukari Suzuki-Ohno, Lázaro M Echenique-Díaz, Hiroshi D Akashi, Takashi Makino, Masakado Kawata
Background: Geographical patterns and degrees of genetic divergence among populations differ between species, reflecting relative potentials for speciation or cladogenesis and differing capacities for environmental adaptation. Identification of factors that contribute to genetic divergence among populations is important to the understanding of why some species exhibit greater interpopulation genetic divergence. In this study, we calculated the mean pairwise genetic distances among populations as species' average genetic divergence by a phylogeny using nuclear and mitochondrial genes of 303 individuals from 33 Cuban Anolis species and estimated species ages by another phylogeny using nuclear and mitochondrial genes of 51 Cuban and 47 non-Cuban Anolis species...
2018: Zoological Letters
Yuko Kagawa-Nagamura, Keiko Gengyo-Ando, Masamichi Ohkura, Junichi Nakai
Background: Tyramine, known as a "trace amine" in mammals, modulates a wide range of behavior in invertebrates; however, the underlying cellular and circuit mechanisms are not well understood. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans ( C. elegans ), tyramine affects key behaviors, including foraging, feeding, and escape responses. The touch-evoked backward escape response is often coupled with a sharp omega turn that allows the animal to navigate away in the opposite direction...
2018: Zoological Letters
Jeane Siswitasari Mulyana, Toshiharu Iwai, Masaharu Takahashi, Achmad Farajallah, Yusli Wardiatno, Chiemi Miura, Takeshi Miura
Background: Pearl production by transplantation in Akoya pearl oyster ( Pinctada fucata ) is a biotechnology developed in Japan that skillfully utilizes the pearl-forming ability of oysters. In this method, cultured pearls are formed from a pearl nucleus and a small piece of mantle transplanted into the gonads of recipient pearl oysters. In this study, we hypothesized that the sex of the recipient pearl oyster might affect the quality of pearl produced. While some previous studies have examined the sex of Akoya pearl oyster, detailed information is lacking...
2018: Zoological Letters
Noritaka Adachi, Juan Pascual-Anaya, Tamami Hirai, Shinnosuke Higuchi, Shunya Kuroda, Shigeru Kuratani
Background: The skeletal musculature of gnathostomes, which is derived from embryonic somites, consists of epaxial and hypaxial portions. Some hypaxial muscles, such as tongue and limb muscles, undergo de-epithelialization and migration during development. Delamination and migration of these myoblasts, or migratory muscle precursors (MMPs), is generally thought to be regulated by hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and receptor tyrosine kinase (MET) signaling. However, the prevalence of this mechanism and the expression patterns of the genes involved in MMP development across different vertebrate species remain elusive...
2018: Zoological Letters
Akira Hikosaka, Seigo Konishi
Background: DNA transposons are generally destroyed by mutations and have short lifespans in hosts, as they are neutral or harmful to the host and therefore not conserved by natural selection. The clawed frog Xenopus harbors many DNA transposons and certain families, such as T2-MITE, have extremely long lives. These have ancient origins, but have shown recent transposition activity. In addition, certain transposase genes may have been "domesticated" by Xenopus and conserved over long time periods by natural selection...
2018: Zoological Letters
Paul Lukas, Lennart Olsson
Background: The emergence of novel structures during evolution is crucial for creating variation among organisms, but the underlying processes which lead to the emergence of evolutionary novelties are poorly understood. The gnathostome jaw joint is such a novelty, and the incorporation of bapx1 expression into the intermediate first pharyngeal arch may have played a major role in the evolution of this joint. Knockdown experiments revealed that loss of bapx1 function leads to the loss of the jaw joint, because Meckel's cartilage and the palatoquadrate fuse during development...
2018: Zoological Letters
Marion Wanninger, Thomas Schwaha, Egon Heiss
Background: Amphibians have evolved a remarkable diversity of defensive mechanisms against predators. One of the most conspicuous components in their defense is related to their ability to produce and store a high variety of bioactive (noxious to poisonous) substances in specialized skin glands. Previous studies have shown that T. verrucosus is poisonous with the potential to truly harm or even kill would-be predators by the effect of its toxic skin secretions. However, little is known on form and function of the skin glands responsible for production and release of these secretions...
2018: Zoological Letters
Haruka Nakagawa, Kiyono Sekii, Takanobu Maezawa, Makoto Kitamura, Soichiro Miyashita, Marina Abukawa, Midori Matsumoto, Kazuya Kobayashi
Background: Turbellarian species can post-embryonically produce germ line cells from pluripotent stem cells called neoblasts, which enables some of them to switch between an asexual and a sexual state in response to environmental changes. Certain low-molecular-weight compounds contained in sexually mature animals act as sex-inducing substances that trigger post-embryonic germ cell development in asexual worms of the freshwater planarian Dugesia ryukyuensis (Tricladida). These sex-inducing substances may provide clues to the molecular mechanism of this reproductive switch...
2018: Zoological Letters
Alu Konno, Shigetoshi Okazaki
Background: Investigation of the internal tissues and organs of a macroscopic organism usually requires destructive processes, such as dissection or sectioning. These processes are inevitably associated with the loss of some spatial information. Recently, aqueous-based tissue clearing techniques, which allow whole-organ or even whole-body clearing of small rodents, have been developed and opened a new method of three-dimensional histology. It is expected that these techniques will be useful tools in the field of zoology, in which organisms with highly diverse morphology are investigated and compared...
2018: Zoological Letters
Wayne M Itano, Lance L Lambert
Background: Paleozoic holocephalian tooth plates are rarely found articulated in their original positions. When they are found isolated, it is difficult to associate the small, anterior tooth plates with the larger, more posterior ones. Tooth plates are presumed to have evolved from fusion of tooth files. However, there is little fossil evidence for this hypothesis. Results: We report a tooth plate having nearly perfect bilateral symmetry from the Mississippian (Chesterian Stage) Bangor Limestone of Franklin County, Alabama, USA...
2018: Zoological Letters
Maja Mielke, Jan Wölfer, Patrick Arnold, Anneke H van Heteren, Eli Amson, John A Nyakatura
Background: Sciuromorpha (squirrels and close relatives) are diverse in terms of body size and locomotor behavior. Individual species are specialized to perform climbing, gliding or digging behavior, the latter being the result of multiple independent evolutionary acquisitions. Each lifestyle involves characteristic loading patterns acting on the bones of sciuromorphs. Trabecular bone, as part of the bone inner structure, adapts to such loading patterns. This network of thin bony struts is subject to bone modeling, and therefore reflects habitual loading throughout lifetime...
2018: Zoological Letters
Koki Murano, Kota Ogawa, Tomonari Kaji, Toru Miura
Background: Aphids display "cyclic parthenogenesis," in which parthenogenetically and sexually reproducing morphs seasonally alternate in the aphid annual life cycles. There are various characteristics that differ between asexual viviparous and sexual oviparous females. In oviparous females, swollen cuticular structures (~ 10 μm in diameter), called "scent plaques," are scattered on the surface of hind tibias, and secrete monoterpenoid sex pheromones. However, the developmental processes of the pheromone glands and the biosynthetic pathways of monoterpenoid pheromones have yet to be elucidated...
2018: Zoological Letters
Aki Makanae, Akira Satoh
Background: Intercalary pattern formation is an important regulatory step in amphibian limb regeneration. Amphibian limb regeneration is composed of multiple steps, including wounding, blastema formation, and intercalary pattern formation. Attempts have been made to transfer insights from regeneration-competent animals to regeneration-incompetent animalsat each step in the regeneration process. In the present study, we focused on the intercalary mechanism in chick limb buds. In amphibian limb regeneration, a proximodistal axis is organized as soon as a regenerating blastema is induced...
2018: Zoological Letters
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