Logo Logo
Switch Language to German

Huber, Thomas and Haug, Carolin (2021): Morphological changes during the post-embryonic ontogeny of mesothelan spiders and aspects of character evolution in early spiders. In: Development Genes and Evolution, Vol. 231, No. 3-4: pp. 47-56

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


Most morphological studies focus on adult specimens, or if developmental studies are pursued, especially in Euarthropoda, they focus on embryonic development. Araneae (spiders) is one of these groups, in consequence with understudied post-embryonic development. Here we present aspects of the post-embryonic stages of different species of Mesothelae, sister group to the remaining spiders (when fossil species are not taken into account). We used different imaging methods and measured different external morphological structures to detect possible ontogenetic changes. One structure exhibiting post-embryonic changes is the chelicera. Here the significant change occurs between the last immature stage and the adult, yet only in males. For the spinnerets, we could not detect ontogenetic changes, but instead a high variability in length and width, probably due to their lack of pivot joints between the elements. The strongest morphological change during ontogeny occurred on the sternum, which begins with a rather roundish shape in the first stage and changes to being fairly elongate in shape in the last immature stages and the adult. This specific sternum shape only occurs in adults of mesothelan spiders, while opisthothelan spiders have a broader sternum also in the adult. We discuss our results in an evolutionary context, also taking into account recent finds of fossil spiders.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item