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Digital dissection shows that two horseshoe crab appendages—the pushing leg and the male pedipalp—each have one more muscle than had been thought, according to a study published February 14, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Russell Bicknell from University of New England, Australia, and colleagues.
The horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, has unique anatomical features and an ancient lineage, making this iconic chelicerate one of the most well documented arthropods. However, as is true of most invertebrates, Limulus' features are regularly depicted in two dimensions.
Bicknell - Colleagues - Tomography - CT - Scans
Bicknell and colleagues did computed tomography, or CT scans, of a dried horseshoe crab carcass from the University of New England Natural History Museum as well as of fresh appendages, and then used the scans to develop 3D models of the muscles in their appendages. The researchers focused on the cephalothorax—or semicircular frontal section—which has seven pairs of appendages. The appendages that attached to the ventral side are used to move and eat.
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