Cryptic niche switching in a chemosymbiotic gastropod

Chen, Chong; Linse, Katrin ORCID:; Katsuyuki, Uematsu; Sigwart, Julia D.. 2018 Cryptic niche switching in a chemosymbiotic gastropod. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285 (1881), 20181099.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
© 2018 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. This is the accepted version of Chen et al. Cryptic niche switching in a chemosymbiotic gastropod 285 Proc. R. Soc. B
Chen_et_al_PRSB.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (224kB) | Preview


Life stages of some animals, including amphibians and insects, are so different that they have historically been seen as different species. ‘Metamorphosis’ broadly encompasses major changes in organism bodies and, importantly, concomitant shifts in trophic strategies. Many marine animals have a biphasic lifestyle, with small pelagic larvae undergoing one or more metamorphic transformations before settling into a permanent, adult morphology on the benthos. Post-settlement, the hydrothermal vent gastropod Gigantopelta chessoia experiences a further, cryptic metamorphosis at body sizes around 5–7 mm. The terminal adult stage is entirely dependent on chemoautotrophic symbionts; smaller individuals do not house symbionts and presumably depend on grazing. Using high-resolution X-ray microtomography to reconstruct the internal organs in a growth series, we show that this sudden transition in small but sexually mature individuals dramatically reconfigures the organs, but is in no way apparent from external morphology. We introduce the term ‘cryptometamorphosis’ to identify this novel phenomenon of a major body change and trophic shift, not related to sexual maturity, transforming only the internal anatomy. Understanding energy flow in ecosystems depends on the feeding ecology of species; the present study highlights the possibility for adult animals to make profound shifts in biology that influence energy dynamics.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Additional Keywords: cryptometamorphosis, hydrothermal vent, life history, metamorphosis, mollusc
Date made live: 08 Aug 2018 09:31 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...