University of Oulu

Greistorfer, S., von Byern, J., Miller, I., Meyer-Rochow, V. B., Farkas, R., & Steiner, G. (2023). A histochemical and morphological study of the mucus producing pedal gland system in Latia neritoides (Mollusca; Gastropoda; Hygrophila). In Zoology (Vol. 156, p. 126067). Elsevier BV.

A histochemical and morphological study of the mucus producing pedal gland system in Latia neritoides (Mollusca; Gastropoda; Hygrophila)

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Author: Greistorfer, Sophie1; von Byern, Janek2; Miller, Ingrid3;
Organizations: 1Unit for Integrative Zoology, Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Vienna, Austria
2Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology, Austrian Cluster for Tissue Regeneration, Vienna, Austria
3Institute of Medical Biochemistry, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria
4Department of Ecology and Genetics, Oulu University, Oulu SF-90140, Finland
5Agricultural Science and Technology Research Institute, Andong National University, Andong 36729, Republic of Korea
6Laboratory of Developmental Genetics, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Biomedical Centre, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 23.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-08-09


The freshwater gastropod Latia neritoides is endemic to the streams of New Zealand’s North Island. This species has evolved a unique defence system: it exudes a luminescent mucus thought to deter predators. While the bioluminescence itself has been investigated before, the underlying gland system has remained unstudied and relevant information to understand the defence system has been missing till now. For the release of the glowing mucus of L. neritoides two places of origin were assumed: the lateral foot area or the mantel cavity. In this study the focus was on the first suggestion. To gain insight into the defence system, morphological as well as histochemical analyses were performed involving all secretory gland types in the sub-epithelial foot layer. The results were compared with the foot gland system of Neritina sp., a snail living in a comparable habitat, but using a different survival strategy. The gland types of the two gastropods were compared and their mucus types were investigated. Seven subepithelial gland cell types can be distinguished in the foot region of L. neritoides. Neritina sp., in contrast, has six gland cell types of which three laterally located ones are epithelial. Both species show a pedal gland in the anterior foot region. A striking difference between the species are two prominent subepithelial gland cell types (L1l/L2l) in the lateral foot area of L. neritoides, which are missing in Neritina sp. These gland cells are distributed throughout the entire lateral foot area of L. neritoides and make up about 85% of the mucus gland cells in this area. Defence mucus and trail mucus of L. neritoides show different specificities in lectin staining, but are not equally represented in the gland cell types. Yet, based on the huge size and high density of L1l and L2L, we envision a role for these gland types in the defence system.

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Series: Zoology
ISSN: 0944-2006
ISSN-E: 1873-2720
ISSN-L: 0944-2006
Volume: 156
Article number: 126067
DOI: 10.1016/j.zool.2022.126067
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: Sophie Greistorfer was recipient of a DOC Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (DOC [Doctoral Fellowship Programme of the Austrian Academy of Sciences] / 25023). COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) financed the STSM grant (ECOST-STSMCA15216-080419-106146) for lectin affinity tests. Robert Farkas was funded by VEGA 2/0103/17 and APVV-16-0219.
Dataset Reference: Data will be made available on request.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier GmbH. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (