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Post-metamorphic ontogeny of Zoroaster fulgens Thomson, 1873 (Asteroidea, Forcipulatacea)

  • Fau, Marine Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Villier, Loïc Centre de Recherche sur la Paléobiodiversité et les Paléoenvironnements, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France
Published in:
  • Journal of Anatomy. - 2018, vol. 233, no. 5, p. 644–665
English The complete ontogenetic development of an asteroid skeleton has never been described formally for any species. Here, we describe in detail the post-metamorphic ontogeny of Zoroaster fulgens Thomson, 1873. The major novelty of our work is the description of patterns of plate addition, the ontogeny of the internal ossicles, as well as the variability of ossicles according to their position along series. Seven specimens collected in the Rockall Basin (North Atlantic) were dissected with bleach and their anatomy was documented using a scanning electron microscope. The external anatomy was additionally observed on more than 30 specimens. We found that the overall structure of the skeleton does not change much between juveniles and adults, but the shape of individual ossicle changes during growth. Allometric scaling was particularly visible on the orals, ambulacrals and adambulacrals. The shape of an ossicle is more dependent of its position along the arm series than of its individual size. Many morphological features differentiate progressively during ontogeny, while others are expressed consistently among specimens. The study of this ontogenetic series allows discussing the homology between the structures present on the ossicles of Z. fulgens in particular and other forcipulatacean sea stars in general (i.e. muscles insertions and articulation areas). The new data obtained in this study provide a comprehensive framework of the anatomy and ontogeny of Z. fulgens that will help resolve taxonomic and phylogenetic controversies in the future.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Géosciences
  • English
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