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Development beyond the gastrula stage and digestive organogenesis in the apple-snail Pomacea canaliculata (Architaenioglossa, Ampullariidae)


1. Laboratorio de Fisiología (IHEM- CONICET), Departamento de Morfología y Fisiología (FCM-UNCuyo), Mendoza, Argentina.
2. Laboratorio de Microscopía Electrónica (INSIBIO-CONICET), San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina.
3. Centro Nacional Patagónico (CENPAT – CONICET), Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina.
* Address correspondence to: Alfredo Castro-Vazquez. E-mail:

BIOCELL 2009, 33(1), 49-65.


Development of Pomacea canaliculata from the gastrula stage until the first day after hatching is described. Trochophore embryos are developed after gastrulation, showing the prototroch as a crown of ciliated orange-brownish cells. However, no true veliger embryos are formed, since the prototroch does not fully develop into a velum. Afterward, the connection between the fore- and midgut is permeated and the midgut becomes full of the pink-reddish albumen, which is stored into a central archenteron’s lake, from where it is accumulated into the large cells forming the midgut wall (“giant cells”). Electron microscopy of giant cells in late embryos showed that albumen is engulfed by large endocytic vesicles formed between the irregular microvilli at the top of these cells. By the end of intracapsular development, giant cells become gradually replaced by two new epithelial cell types which are similar to those found in the adult midgut gland: the pre-columnar and the pre-pyramidal cells. Pre-columnar cells have inconspicuous basal nuclei and are crowned by stereocilia, between which small endocytic vesicles are formed. Pre-pyramidal cells have large nuclei with 2-3 nucleoli and show a striking development of the rough endoplasmic reticulum. The genesis of the three cell lineages (giant, pre-columnar and pre-pyramidal cells) is hypothetically attributed to epithelial streaks that occur at both sides of the midgut since early stages of development.


Cite This Article

KOCH, E., WINIK, B., CASTRO-VAZQUEZ, A. (2009). Development beyond the gastrula stage and digestive organogenesis in the apple-snail Pomacea canaliculata (Architaenioglossa, Ampullariidae). BIOCELL, 33(1), 49–65.


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