October 19, 2013

Evolution is not a one-way road towards complexity:

Top view of the eight-shelled chiton Acanthopleura japonica (Polyplacophora, Mollusca).
(Copyright: Maik Scherholz)

Development of cryptic worms provides new insights into molluscan evolution.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about mollusks, e.g. snails, slugs and mussels. The research group of Andreas Wanninger, Head of the Department of Integrative Zoology of the University of Vienna, took a detailed look at the development of cryptic worms. The larvae of the "wirenia argentea" hold a much more complex muscular architecture than their adults – they remodel during their metamorphosis. That’s a clue that the ancestors had a highly complex muscular bodyplan. Their findings are published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Current biology".