corner graphic

Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

The zoological name given in 1815 by Lamarck (Gr. apec vr7, a spider) to a class which he instituted for the reception of the spiders, scorpions and mites, previously classified by Linnaeus in the order Aptera of his great group Insecta. Lamarck at the same time founded the class Crustacea for the lobsters, crabs and water-fleas, also until then included in the order Aptera of Linnaeus. Lamarck included the Thysanura and the Myriapoda in his class Arachnida. The Insecta of Linnaeus was a group exactly equivalent to the Arthropoda founded a hundred years later by Siebold and Stannius. It was thus reduced by Lamarck in area, and made to comprise only the six-legged, wing-bearing " Insecta." For these Lamarck proposed the name Hexapoda; but that name has been little used, and they have retained to this day the title of the much larger Linnaean group, viz. Insecta. The position of the Arachnida in the great sub-phylum Arthropoda, according to recent anatomical and embryological researches, is explained in the article Arthropoda. The Arachnida form a distinct class or line of descent in the grade Euarthropoda, diverging (perhaps in common at the start with the Crustacea) from primitive Euarthropods, which gave rise also to the separate lines of descent known as the classes Diplopoda, Crustacea, Chilopoda and Hexapoda.

FIG. I. - Entosternum, entosternite or plastron of Limulus Polyphemus, Latr. Dorsal surface.

LAP, Left anterior process. PLR, Posterior lateral rod or RAP, Right anterior process. tendon.

PhN, Pharyngeal notch. PLP, Posterior lateral process.

ALR, Anterior lateral rod or tendon. Natural size.

(From Lankester, Q. J. Mic. Sci., N.S. vol. xxiv., 1884.) Limulus an Arachnid. - Modern views as to the classification and affinities of the Arachnida have been determined by the demonstration that Limulus and the extinct Eurypterines ( Pterygotus, &c.) are Arachnida; that is to say, are identical in the structure and relation of so many important parts with Scorpio, whilst differing in those respects from other Arthropoda, that it is impossible to suppose that the identity is due to homoplasy or convergence, and the conclusion must be accepted that the resemblances arise from close genetic relationship. The view that Limulus, the king-crab, is an Arachnid was maintained as long ago as 182 9 by Strauss-Diirckheim (1), on the ground of its possession of an internal cartilaginous sternum - also possessed by the Arachnida (see figs. I, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) - and of the similarity of the disposition of the six leg-like appendages around the mouth in the two cases (see figs. 45 and 63). The evidence of the exact equivalence of the segmentation and appendages of Limulus and Scorpio, and of a number of remarkable points of agreement in structure, was furnished by Ray Lankester in an article published in 1881 (" Limulus an Arachnid," Quart. Journ. Mier. Sci. vol. xxi. N.S.), and in a series of subsequent memoirs, in which the structure of the entosternum, of the coxal glands, of the eyes, of the veno-pericardiac muscles, of the respiratory lamellae, and of other parts, was for the first time described, and in which the new facts discovered were shown uniformly to support the hypothesis that Limulus is an Arachnid.

A list of these memoirs is given at the close of this article (2, 3, 4, 5 and 13). The Eurypterines (Gigantostraca) were included in the identification, although at that time they were supposed PMP. FIG. 2. - Ventral surface of the entosternum of Limulus Polyphemus, Latr. Letters as in fig. 1 with the addition of NF, neural fossa protecting the aggregated ganglia of the central nervous system; PVP, left posterior ventral process; PMP, posterior median process. Natural size.

(From Lankester.) to possess only five pairs of anterior or prosomatic appendages. They have now been shown to possess six pairs (fig. 47), as do Limulus and Scorpio.

The various comparisons previously made between the structure of Limulus and the Eurypterines on the one hand, and that of a typical Arachnid, such as Scorpio, on the other, had been vitiated by erroneous notions as to the origin of the nerves supplying the anterior appendages of Limulus (which were finally removed by Alphonse Milne-Edwards in his beautiful memoir (6) on the structure of that animal), and secondly by the erroneous identification of the double sternal plates of Limulus, called " chilaria," by Owen, with a pair of appendages (7). Once the identity of the chilaria with the pentagonal sternal plate of the scorpion is recognized - an identification first insisted on by Lankester - the whole series of segments and appendages in the two animals, Limulus and Scorpio, are seen to correspond most closely, segment for segment, with one another (see figs. 7 and 8). The structure of the prosomatic appendages or legs is also seen to present many significant points of agreement (see figures), but a curious discrepancy existed in the six-jointed structure of the limb in Limulus, which differed from the seven-jointed limb of Scorpio by the defect of one joint. R. I. Pocock of the British Museum has observed that in Limulus a marking exists on the fourth joint, which apparently indicates a previous division of this segment into two, and thus establishes the agreement of Limulus and Scorpio in this small feature of the number of segments in the legs (see fig. I I) .

It is not desirable to occupy the limited space of this article by a full description of the limbs and segments of Limulus and Scorpio. The reader is referred to the complete series of figures here given, with their explanatory legends (figs. 12, 13, 14, 15). Certain matters, however, require comment and explanation to render the comparison intelligible. The tergites, or chitinized dorsal halves of the body rings, are fused to form a " prosomatic carapace," or carapace of the prosoma, in both Limulus and Scorpio (see figs, 7 and 8). This region corresponds in both cases to six somites, as indicated by the presence of six pairs of limbs. On the surface of the carapace there are in both animals a pair of central eyes with simple lens and a pair of lateral eyetracts, which in Limulus consist of closely-aggregated simple eyes, forming a " compound" eye, whilst in Scorpio they present several AC separate small eyes. The 72? 7n7 microscopic structure of the FIG. 4. - Ventral surface of the same central and the lateral eyes entosternum as that drawn in fig. 3. has been shown by Lankester Letters as in fig. 3 with the addition and A. G. Bourne (5) to of NC, neural canal or foramen.

differ; but the lateral eyes of Scorpio were shown by them (After Lankester, loc. cit.) to be similar in structure to the lateral eyes of Limulus, and the central eyes of Scorpio to be identical in structure with the central eyes of Limulus (see below).

Following the prosoma is a region consisting of six segments (figs. 14 and 15), each carrying a pair of plate-like appendages in both Limulus and Scorpio. This region is called the mesosoma. The tergites of this region and those of the following region, the metasoma, are fused to form a second or posterior carapace in Limulus, whilst remaining free in Scorpio. The first pair of foliaceous appendages in each animal is the genital operculum; beneath it are found the openings of the genital ducts. The second pair of mesosomatic appendages in Scorpio are known as the " pectens." Each consists of an axis, bearing numerous blunt tooth-like processes arranged in a series. This is represented in Limulus by the first gillbearing appendage. The leaves (some 150 in number) of the gill-book (see figure) correspond to the tooth-like processes of the pectens of Scorpio. The next four pairs of appendages (completing the mesosomatic series of six) consist, in both Scorpio and Limulus, of a base carrying each 130 to 150 blood-holding, leaf-like plates, lying on one another like the leaves of a book. Their minute structure is closely similar in the two cases; the leaf-like plates receive blood from the great sternal sinus, and serve as respiratory organs. The difference between the gill-books of Limulus and the lung-books of Scorpio depends on the fact that the latter are adapted to aerial respiration, while the former serve for aquatic respiration. The appendage carrying the gill-book stands out on the surface of the body in Limulus, and has other portions developed besides the gill-book and its base; it is fused with its fellow of the opposite side On the other hand, in Scorpio, the gill-book-bearing apFIG. 6. - Dorsal surface of pendage has sunk below the surface, the same entost surface as forming a recess or chamber for that drawn e fig. 5. Ph.N.,as itself, which communicates with the pharyngeal notch.

exterior by an oval or circular " stigma " (fig. 10, sig). That this (Alter Lankester, loc. cit.) in-sinking has taken place, and that the lung-books or in-sunken gill-books of Scorpio really represent appendages (that is to say, limbs or parapodia) is proved by their developmental history (see FIG. 3. - Entosternum of scorpion ( Palamnaeus indus, de Geer); dorsal surface. asp, Paired anterior process of the subneural arch.

snp, Sub-neural arch.

ap, Anterior lateral process (same as RAP and LAP in fig. I).

imp, Lateral median process (same as ALR and PLR of fig. I).

pp, Posterior process (same as PLP in fig. I).

pf, Posterior flap or diaphragm of Newport.

m' and m 2, Perforations of the diaphragm for the passage of muscles. DR, The paired dorsal ridges. GC, Gastric canal or foramen.

AC, Arterial canal or foramen. five times linear.

(After Lankester, toe cit.) Magnified MOO p GC. D R. FIG. 5. - Entosternum of one of the mygalomorphous spiders; ventral surface. Ph.N., pharyngeal notch. The posterior median process with its repetition of triangular segments closely resembles the same process in Limulus. Magnified five times linear.

(From Lankester, loc. cit.) figs. 17 and 18). They appear at first as outstanding processes on the surface of the body.

The exact mode in which the in-sinking of superficial outstanding limbs, carrying gill-lamellae, has historically taken place has been a matter of much speculation. It was to be hoped that the specimen of the Silurian scorpion (Palaeophonus ) from Scotland, showing the ventral surface of the mesosoma (fig. 49), would throw light on this matter; but the specimen recently carefully studied by the writer and Pocock reveals neither gill-bearing limbs nor stigmata. The probability appears to be against an actual introversion of the appendage and its lamellae, as was at one time suggested by Lankester. It is probable that such an in-sinking as is shown in the FIG. 7. - Diagram of the dorsal surface of Limulus polyphemus. oc, Lateral compound eyes.

oc', Central monomeniscous eyes. PA, Post-anal spine.

I to VI, The six appendagebearing somites of the prosoma.

VII, Usually considered to be the tergum of the genital somite, but suggested by Pocock to be that of the other [According to the system of numbering explained in the text, if VII is the tergum of the praegenital somite (as is probable) it should be labelled Prg without any number, and the somites VIII to XIII should be lettered 1 to 6, indicating that they are the six normal somites of the mesosoma; whilst XV to XVIII should be replaced by the numbers 7 to 12 - an additional suppressed segment (making up the typical six) being reckoned to the metasomatic fusion.] (From Lankester, Q. J. Micr. Sci. vol. xxi., 1881.) accompanying diagram has taken place (fig. 15); but we are yet in need of evidence as to the exact equivalence of margins, axis, &c., obtaining between the lung-book of Scorpio and the gill-book of Limulus. Zoologists are familiar with many instances (fishes, crustaceans) in which the protective walls of a water-breathing organ or gill-apparatus become converted into an air-breathing organ or lung, but there is no other case known of the conversion of gill processes themselves into air-breathing plates.

The identification of the lung-books of Scorpio with the gill-books of Limulus is practically settled by the existence of the pectens in Scorpio (fig. 14, VIII) on the second mesosomatic somite. There is no doubt that these are parapodial or limb appendages, carrying numerous imbricated secondary processes, and therefore comparable in essential structure to the leaf-bearing plates of the second meso somatic somite of Limulus. They have remained unenclosed and projecting on the surface of the body, as once were the appendages of the four following somites. But they have lost their respiratory function. In non-aquatic life such an unprotected organ cannot subserve respiration. The " pectens " have become more firmly chitinized and probably somewhat altered in shape as compared with their condition in the aquatic ancestral scorpions. Their present function in scorpions is not ascertained. They are not specially sensitive under ordinary conditions, and may be touched or even pinched without causing any discomfort to the scorpion. It is probable that they acquire special sensibility at the breeding season and serve as " guides " in copulation. The shape of the legs and the absence of paired terminal claws in the Silurian Palaeophonus (see figs. 48 and 49) as compared with living scorpions (see fig. io) show that the early scorpions were aquatic, and we may hope some day in better-preserved specimens than [?! the two as yet discovered, to find the respiran c, -

61° tory organs of those creatures in the con-;...« dition of projecting appendages serving =?.? VTTg?? aquatic respiration somewhat as in Limulus, though not necessarily repeating the exact E ??. VItI form of the broad plates of Limulus. C IX It is important to note that the series of lamellae of the lung-book and the gill-book ?_.

??? correspond exactly in structure, the narrow, flat blood-space in the lamellae being interrupted by pillar-like junctions of the two surfaces in both cases (see Lankester (4)), and C ?„?

---?,„',. XIl the free surfaces of the adjacent lamellae being --- covered with a very delicate chitinous cuticle ?,' Xlll which is drawn out into delicate hairs and .

processes. The elongated axis which opens at the stigma in Scorpio and which can be cleared of soft, surrounding tissues and co agulated blood so as to present the appearance of a limb axis carrying the book-like leaves of the lung is not really, as it would seem to be at first sight, the limb axis. That is neces sarily a blood-holding structure and is obliterated and fused with soft tissues of the sternal region so that the lamellae cannot be detached and presented as standing out from it. The apparent axis or basal support of the scorpion's lung-books shown in the figures, is a false or secondary axis and merely a part of the infolded surface which forms the air-chamber. The maceration of the soft parts of a scorpion preserved in weak spirit and the cleaning of the chitinized in-grown

1nus cuticle give rise to the false appearance of a limb axis carrying the lamellae. The margins of the lamellae of the scorpion's lung-book, which are lowermost in the figures (fig. 15) and appear to be free, are really those which are attached to the blood-holding axis. The true free ends are those nearest the stigma. Passing on now from the mesosoma we come in Scorpio to the metasoma of six segments, the first of which is broad whilst the rest are cylindrical. The last is perforated by the anus and carries the post-anal spine or sting. The somites of the metasoma carry no parapodia. In Limulus the metasoma is practically suppressed. In the allied extinct Eurypterines it is well developed, and resembles that of Scorpio. In the embryo Limulus (fig. 42) the six somites of the mesosoma are not fused to form a carapace at an early stage, and they are followed by three separately marked metasomatic somites; the other three somites of the metasoma have disappeared in Limulus, but are represented (From Lankester, loc. cit.) by the unsegmented prae-anal region. It is probable that we have in the metasoma of Limulus a case of the disappearance of once clearly demarcated somites. It would be possible to suppose, on the other hand, that new somites are only beginning to make their appearance here. The balance of various considerations is against the latter hypothesis. Following the metasoma in Limulus, we have as in Scorpio the post-anal spine - in this case not a sting, but a powerful and important organ of locomotion, serving to turn the animal over when it has fallen upon its back. The nature of the post-anal spine has been strangely misinterpreted by some writers. Owen (7) maintained that it represented a number of coalesced somites, regardless of its post-anal position and mode of development. The agreement of the grouping of the somites, of the form of the parapodia (appendages, limbs) in each region, of the position of the genital aperture and operculum, of the position and character of the eyes, and of the powerful post-anal spines not seen in other Arthropods, is very convincing as to the affinity wise suppressed praegenital somite.

VIII to XIII, The six somites of the mesosoma, each with a movable pleural spine and a pair of dorsal entopophysis or muscle-attaching ingrowths.

XIV to XVIII, The confluent or unexpressed six somites of the metasoma.

FIG. 8. - Diagram of the dorsal surface of a scorpion to compare with fig. 7. Letters and Roman numerals as in fig. 7, excepting that VII is here certainly the tergum of the first somite of the mesosoma - the genital somite - and is not a survival of the embryonic praegenital somite. The anus (not seen) is on the sternal surface.

of Limulus and Scorpio. Perhaps the most important general agreement of Scorpio compared with Limulus and the Eurypterines is the division of the body into the three regions (or tagmata) - prosoma, mesosoma and metasoma - each consisting of six segments, the prosoma having leg-like appendages, the mesosoma having foliaceous appendages, and the metasoma being destitute of appendages.

In 1893, some years after the identification of the somites of Limulus with those of Scorpio, thus indicated, had been published, zoologists were startled by the discovery by a Japanese zoologist, Kishinouye (8), of a seventh prosomatic somite in the embryo of Limulus longispina. This was seen in longitudinal sections, as shown in fig. 19. The simple identification of somite with somite in Limulus and Scorpio seemed to be threatened by this discovery. But in 1896 Dr August Brauer of Marburg (9) discovered in the embryo of Scorpio a seventh prosomatic somite (see VII PrG, figs. 17 and 18), or, if we please so to term it, a praegenital somite, hitherto unrecognized. In the case of Scorpio this segment is indicated in the embryo by the presence of a pair of rudimentary appendages, carried by a well-marked somite. As in Limulus, so in Scorpio, this unexpected somite and its appendages disappear in the course of development. In fact, more or less complete " excalation " of the somite takes place. Owing to its position it is convenient to term the somite which is excalated in Limulus and Scorpio " the praegenital somite." It appears not improbable that the sternal plates wedged in between Fll '` vu...

n vn XI ' FIG. 9. - Ventral view of the posterior carapace or meso-metasomatic (opisthosomatic) fusion of Limulus polyphemus. The soft integument and limbs of the mesosoma have been removed as well as all the viscera and muscles, so that the inner surface of the terga of these somites with their entopophyses are seen. The unsegmented dense chitinous sternal plate of the metasoma (XIII to XVIII) is not removed. Letters as in fig. 7.

(After Lankester, loc. cit.) the last pair of legs in both Scorpio and Limulus, viz. the pentagonal sternite of Scorpio (fig. 10) and the chilaria of Limulus (see figs. 13 and 20), may in part represent in the adult the sternum of the excalated praegenital somite. This has not been demonstrated by an actual following out of the development, but the position of these pieces and the fact that they are (in Limulus) supplied by an independent segmental nerve, favours the view that they may comprise the sternal area of the vanished praegenital somite. This interpretation, however, of the " metasternites " of Limulus and Scorpio is opposed by the coexistence in Thelyphonus (figs. 55, 57 and 58) of a similar metasternite with a complete praegenital somite. H. J. Hansen (10) has recognized that the " praegenital somite " persists in a rudimentary condition, forming a " waist " to the series of somites in the Pedipalpi and Araneae. The present writer is of opinion that it will be found most convenient to treat this evanescent somite as something special, and not to attempt to reckon it to either the prosoma or the mesosoma. These will then remain as typically composed each of six appendage-bearing somites - the prosoma comprising in addition the ocular prosthomere.' When the praegenital somite or traces of it are present it should not be called " the seventh prosomatic " or the " first mesosomatic," but simply the " praegenital somite." The first segment of the mesosoma of Scorpio and Limulus thus remains the first segment, and can be identified as such throughout the Eu-arachnida, carrying as it always does the genital apertures. But it is necessary to remember, in the light of recent discoveries, that the sixth prosomatic pair of appendages is carried on the seventh somite of the whole series, there being two prosthomeres or somites in front of the mouth, the first carrying the eyes, the second the chelicerae; also that the first mesosomatic or genital somite is not the seventh or even the eighth of the whole series of somites which have been historically present, 1 See the article Arthropoda for the use of the term " prosthomere." but is the ninth, owing to the presence or to the excalation of a praegenital somite. It seems that confusion and trouble will be best avoided by abstaining from the introduction of the non-evident somites, the ocular and the praegenital, into the numerical nomenclature of the component somites of the three great body regions. We shall, therefore, ignoring the ocular somite, speak of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth legbearing somites of the prosoma, and indicate the appendages by the Roman numerals, I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and whilst ignoring the praegenital somite we shall speak of the first, second, third, &c., somite of the mesosoma or opisthosoma (united mesosoma and metasoma) and indicate them by the Arabic numerals.

There are a number of other important points of structure besides those referring to the somites and appendages in which Limulus agrees with Scorpio or other Arachnida and differs from other Arthro- '11'1 poda. The chief of these are as follows: I. The Composition of the Head (that is to say, of the anterior part of the prosoma) with especial Reference to the Region in Front of the Mouth. - It appears (see Arthropoda) that there is embryological evidence of the existence of two somites in Arachnida which were originally post-oral, but have become prae-oral by adaptational shifting of the oral aperture. These forwardly-slipped somites are called " prosthomeres." The first of these has, in Arachnids as in other Arthropods, its pair of appendages represented by the eyes. The second has for its pair of appendages the small pair of limbs which in all living Arachnids is either chelate or retrovert (as in spiders), and is known as the chelicerae. It is possible, as maintained by some writers (Patten and others), that the lobes of the cerebral nervous mass in Arach nids indicate a larger number of prosthomeres as having fused in this region, but there is no embryological evidence at present which justifies us in assuming the existence in Arachnids of more than two prosthomeres. The position of the chelicerae of Limulus and of the ganglionic nerve-masses from which they receive their nerve-supply, is closely similar to that of the same structures in Scorpio. The cerebral mass is in Limulus more easily separated by dissection as a median lobe distinct from the laterally placed ganglia of the cheliceral somite than is the case in Scorpio, but the relations are practically the same in the two forms. Formerly it was supposed that in Limulus both the chelicerae and the next following pair of appendages were prosthomerous, as in Crustacea, but the dissections of Alphonse Milne-Edwards (6) demonstrated VI FIG. Io. - Ventral view of a scorpion. Palamnaeus indus, de Geer, to show the arrangement of the coxae of the limbs, the sternal elements, genital plate and pectens.

M, Mouth behind the oval median camerostome.

I, The chelicerae.

II, The chelae.

III to VI, the four pairs of walking legs. VIIgo, The genital somite or first somite of the mesosoma with the genital operculum (a fused pair of limbs).

VIIIp, The pectiniferous somite.

IXstg to XlIstg, the four pulmonary somites.

met, The pentagonal metasternite of the prosoma behind all the coxae.

x, The sternum of the pectiniferous somite.

y, The broad first somite of the metasoma.

FIG. 1 1. - Third leg of Limulus Polyphemus, showing the division of the fourth segment of the leg by a groove S into two, thus giving seven segments to the leg as in scorpion.

(From a drawing by Pocock.) the true limitations of the cerebrum, whilst embryological researches have done as much for Scorpio. Limulus thus agrees with Scorpio and differs from the Crustacea, in which there are three prosthomeres - one ocular and two carrying palpiform appendages. It is true that in the lower Crustacea (Apus, &c.) we have evidence of the gradual movement forward of the nerve-ganglia belonging to these FIG. 12. - The prosomatic appendages of Limulus polyphemus (right) and Scorpio (left), Palamnaeus indus compared. The corresponding appendages are marked with the same Roman numeral. The Arabic numerals indicate the segments of the legs.

cox, Coxa or basal segment of the ex', The exopodite of the sixth leg. limb of Limulus.

stc, The sterno-coxal process or a, b, c, d, Movable processes on the jaw-like up-growth of the coxa. same leg (see for some sug epc, The articulated movable gestions on the morphology outgrowth of the coxa, called of this leg, Pocock in Quart. the epi-coxite (present only in Journ. Micr. Sci. March 1901; III of the scorpion and III, see also fig. 50 below and IV and V of Limulus). explanation). (From Lankester, loc. cit.) palpiform appendages. But although in such lower Crustacea the nerve-ganglia of the third prosthomere have not fused with the anterior nerve-mass, there is no question as to the prae-oral position of two appendage-bearing somites in addition to the ocular prosthomere. The Crustacea have, in fact, three prosthomeres in the head and the Arachnida only two, and Limulus agrees with the Arachnida in this respect and differs from the Crustacea. The central nervous systems of Limulus and of Scorpio present closer agreement in structure than can be found when a Crustacean is compared with either. The wide divarication of the lateral cords in the prosoma and their connexion by transverse commissures, together with the " attraction " of ganglia to the prosomatic ganglion group which properly belong to hinder segments, are very nearly identical in the two animals. The form and disposition of the ganglion cells are also peculiar and closely similar in the two. (See Patten (42) for important observations on the neuromeres, &c., of Limulus and Scorpio.) 2. The Minute Structure of the Central Eyes and of the Lateral Eyes. - Limulus agrees with Scorpio not only in having a pair of central eyes and also lateral eyes, but in the microscopic structure of those organs, which differs in the central and lateral eyes respectively. The central eyes are " simple eyes," that is to say, have a single lens, and are hence called " monomeniscous." The lateral eyes are in Limulus " compound eyes," that is to say, consist of many lenses placed close together; beneath each lens is a complex of protoplasmic cells, in which the optic nerve terminates. Each such unit is termed an "ommatidium." The lateral eyes of Scorpio consist of groups of separate small lenses each with its ommatidium, but they do not form a continuous compound eye as in Limulus. The ommatidium (soft structure beneath the lens-unit of a compound eye) is very simple in both Scorpio and Limulus. It consists of a single layer of cells, continuous with those which secrete the general chitinous covering of the prosoma. The cells of tl ommatidium are a good deal larger than the neighbouring common cells of the epidermis. They secrete the knob-like lens (fig. 22). But they also receive the nerve fibres of the optic nerve. They are at the same time both optic nerve-end cells, that is to say, retina cells, and corneagen cells or secretors of the chitinous lens-like cornea. In Limulus (fig. 23) each ommatidium has a peculiar ganglion cell developed in a central position, whilst the ommatidium of the lateral eyelets of Scorpio shows! ij „l small intermediate ce l ls between the larger nerve - end cells. The struc ture of the lateral eye of Limulus was first described by Grenacher, and further and more accurately by Lankester and Bourne (5) and by Watase; that of Scorpio by Lan kester and Bourne, FIG. 13. --Diagrams of the meta-sternite st, who showed that with genital operculum op, and the first lamellithe statements of gerous pair of appendages ga, with uniting von Graber were sternal element st of Scorpio (left) and Limulus erroneous, and (right).

that the lateral eyes of Scorpio have a single cell-layered or " monostichous " ommatidium like that of Limulus. Watase has shown, in a very convincing way, how by deepening the pit-like set of cells beneath a simple lens the more complex ommatidia of the compound eyes of Crustacea and Hexapoda may be derived from such a condition as that presented in the lateral eyes of Limulus and Scorpio. (For details the reader is referred to Watase (11 ) and to Lankester and Bourne (5).) The structure of the central eyes of Scorpio and spiders and also of Limulus differs essentially from that of the lateral eyes in having two layers of cells (hence called diplostichous) beneath the lens, separated from one another by a membrane (figs. 24 and 25). The upper layer is the corneagen and secretes the lens, the lower is the retinal layer. The mass of soft cell-structures beneath a large lens of a central eye is called an " ommatoeum." It shows in Scorpio and Limulus a tendency to segregate into minor groups or " ommatidia." It is found that in embryological growth the retinal layer of the central eyes forms as a separate pouch, which is pushed in laterally beneath the corneagen layer from the epidermic cell layer. Hence it is in origin double, and consists of a true retinal layer and a post-retinal layer (fig. 24, B), though these are not separated by a membrane. Accordingly the diplostichous ommatoeum or soft tissue of the Arachnid's central eye should strictly be called " triplostichous," since the deep layer is itself doubled or folded. The retinal cells of both the lateral and central eyes of Limulus and Scorpio produce cuticular structures on their sides; each such piece is a rhabdomere and a number (five or ten) uniting form a rhabdom (fig. 26). In the specialized ommatidia of the compound eyes of Crustacea and Hexapods the rhabdom is an important structure.' It is a very significant fact that the lateral and central eyes of Limulus and Scorpio not only agree each with each in regard to their monostichous and diplostichous structure, but also in the formation in both classes of eyes of rhabdomeres and rhabdoms in which the component pieces are five or a multiple of five (fig. 26). Whilst each unit of the lateral eye of Limulus has arhabdom of ten t pieces See fig. 12 in the article Arthropoda.

s Though ten is the prevailing number of retinula cells and rhabdomeres in the lateral eye of Limulus, Watase states that they may be as few as nine and as many as eighteen.

(From Lankester, loc. cit.) forming a star-like chitinous centre in section, each lateral eye of Scorpio has several rhabdoms of five or less rhabdomeres, indicating that the Limulus lateral eye-unit is more specialized than the detached lateral eyelet of Scorpio, so as to present a coincidence of one lens with one rhabdom. Numerous rhabdomeres (grouped as rhabdoms in Limulus) are found in the retinal layer of the central eyes also.

Whilst Limulus agrees thus closely with Scorpio in regard to the VII ?tg VII, The genital operculum.

VIII, The pectens of Scorpio and the first branchial plate of Limulus.

IX, The first pair of lung-books of Scorpio and the second branchial plate of Limulus.

(After Lankester, loc. cit.) eyes, it is to be noted that no Crustacean has structures corresponding to the peculiar diplostichous central eyes, though these occur again (with differences in detail) in Hexapoda. Possibly, however, an investigation of the development of the median eyes of some Crustacea(Apus,Palaemon)may prove them to be diplostichous in origin.

3. The so-called " Coxal Glands." - In 1882 ( Proc. Roy. Soc. No. 221) Lankester described under the name " coxal glands " a pair of brilliantly white oviform bodies lying in the Scorpion's prosoma immediately above the coxae of the fifth and sixth pairs of legs (fig. 27). These bodies had been erroneously supposed by Newport ( 12 ) and other observers to be glandular outgrowths of the alimentary canal. The y are really excretory glands, and communicate with the exterior by a very minute aperture on the posterior face of the coxa of the fifth limb on each side. When examined with the microscope, by means of the usual section method, they are seen to consist of a labyrinthine tube lined with peculiar cells, each cell having a deep vertically striated border on the surface farthest from the lumen, as is seen in the cells of some renal organs. The coils and branches of the tube are packed by connective tissue and blood spaces. A similar pair of coxal glands, lobate instead of ovoid in shape, was described by Lankester in Mygale, and it was also shown by him that the structures in Limulus called " brick-red glands " by Packard have the same structure and position as the coxal glands of Scorpio and Mygale. In Limulus these organs consist each of four horizontal lobes lying on the coxal margin of the second, third, fourth, and fifth prosomatic limbs, the four lobes being connected to one another by a transverse piece or stem (fig. 28). Microscopically their structure is the same in essentials as that of the coxal glands of Scorpio (13). Coxal glands have since been recognized and described in other Arachnida. In 1900 it was shown that the coxal gland of Limulus is provided with a very delicate thin-walled coiled duct which opens, even in the adult condition, by a minute pore on the coxa of the fifth leg (Patten and Hazen, 13A). Previously to this, Lankester's pupil Gulland had shown (1885) that in the embryo the coxal gland is a comparatively simple tube, which opens to the exterior in this position and by its other extremity into a coelomic space. Similar observations were made by Laurie (17) in Lankester's laboratory (1890) with regard to the early condition of the coxal gland of Scorpio, and by Bertkau (41 ) as to that of the spider Atypus. H. M. Bernard (13B) showed that the opening remains in the adult scorpion. In all the embryonic or permanent opening is on the coxa of the fifth pair of prosomatic limbs. Thus an organ newly discovered in Scorpio was found to have its counterpart in Limulus.

The name " coxal gland " needs to be carefully distinguished from " crural gland," with which it is apt to be confused. The crural glands, which occur in many terrestrial Arthropods, are epidermal in origin and totally distinct from the coxal glands. The coxal glands of the Arachnida are structures of the same nature as the green glands of the higher Crustacea and the so-called " shell glands " of the Entomostraca. The latter open at the base of the fifth pair of limbs of the Crustacean, just as the coxal glands open on the coxal joint of the fifth pair of limbs of the Arachnid. Both belong to the category of " coelomoducts," namely, r- ' tubular or funnel-like portions of the coelom opening to the exterior in pairs in each somite (potentially,) and usually persisting in only a few somites as either "urocoels" (renal organs) or "gonocoels"(genital tubes). In Peripatus they occur in every somite of the body. They have till recently been very generally identified with the nephridia of Chaetopod worms, but there is good reason for considering the true nephridia (typified by the nephridia of the earthworm) as a distinct class of organs (see Lankester in vol. ii. chap. iii. of A Treatise on Zoology, 1900). The genital ducts of Arthropoda are, like the green glands, shell glands and coxal glands, to be regarded as coelomoducts (gonocoels). The coxal glands do not establish any special connexion between Limulus and Scorpio, since thay also occur in the same somite in the lower Crustacea, but it is to be noted that the coxal glands of Limulus are in minute structure and probably in function more like those of Arachnids than those of Crustacea.

4. The Entosternites and their Minute Structure. - Stra ussDiirckheim (1) was the first to insist on the affinity between Limulus and the Arachnids, indicated by the presence of a free suspended entosternum or plastron or entosternite in both. We have figured here (figs. 1 to 6) the entosternites of Limulus, Scorpio and Mygale. Lankester some years ago made a special study of the histology (3) of these entosternites for the purpose of comparison, and also ascertained the relations of the very numerous muscles which are inserted into them (4). The entosternites are cartilaginous in texture, but they have neither the chemical character nor the microscopic structure of the hyaline cartilage of Vertebrates. They yield chitin in place of chondrin or gelatin - as does also the cartilage of the Cephalopod's endoskeleton. In microscopic structure they all present the closest agreement with one another. We find a firm, homogeneous or sparsely fibrillated matrix in which are embedded .tg..

7 _ __ 1 __-, nucleated cells (corpuscles of protoplasm) arranged in rows of three, six or eight, parallel with the adjacent lines of fibrillation.

A minute entosternite having the above-described structure is found in the Crustacean Apus between the bases of the mandibles, and also in the Decapoda in a similar position, but in no Crustacean does it attain to any size or importance. On the other hand, the entosternite of the Arachnida is a very large and important feature FIG. 14. - The first three pairs of mesosomatic appendages of Scorpio and Limulus compared.

gp, Genital pore.

epst, Epistigmatic sclerite.

stg, Stigma or orifice of the hollow tendons of the branchial plates of Limulus.

FIG. 15. - The remaining three pairs of mesosomatic appendages of Scorpio and Limulus. Letters - as in fig. 14.1130 indicates that there are 130 lamellae in the scorpion's lung-book, whilst 1150 indicates that 150 similar lamellae are counted in the gill of Limulus.

(After Lankester, loc. cit.) has as many structure of the prosoma, and must play an important part economy of these organisms. In Limulus (figs. i and 2) it as twenty-five pairs of muscles attached to it, coming FIG. 16. - Diagram to show the way in which an outgrowing gill - process I bearing blood-holding lamellae, may give rise, if the sternal body wall sinks inwards, to a lung-chamber with air-holding lamellae.

I is the embryonic condi tion.

bs, Blood sinus.

L is the condition of outgrowth with gl, gill lamellae.

A is the condition of insinking of the sternal surface and consequent enclosure of the lamelligerous surface of the appendage in a chamber with narrow orifice - the pulmonary air - holding chamber.

pi, Pulmonary lamellae. bs, Blood sinus.

(After Kingsley.) to it from the bases of the surrounding limbs and from the dorsal carapace and from the pharynx. It consists of an oblong plate 2 in. in length and i in breadth, with a pair of tendinous outgrowths standing out from it at right angles on each side. It " floats " between the prosomatic nerve centres and the alimentary canal. In each somite of the mesosoma is a small, free entosternite having a similar position, but below or ventral to the nerve cords, and having a smaller number of muscles attached to it. The entosternite was probably in origin part of the fibrous connective tissue lying close to the integument of the sternal surface - giving attachment to muscles corresponding more or less to those at present attached to it. It became isolated and detached, why or with what advantage to the organism it is difficult to say, and at that period of Arachnidan development the great ventral nerve cords occupied a more lateral position than they do at present. We know that such a lateral position of the nerve cords preceded the median position in both Arthropoda and Chaetopoda. Subsequently to the floating off of the entosternite the approximation of the nerve cords took place in the prosoma, and thus they were able to take up a position below the entosternite. In the mesosoma the approximation had occurred before the entosternites were formed.

In the scorpion (figs. 3 and 4) the entosternite has tough membrane - like outgrowths or genital somite. which connect it with the IX, The second mesosomatic somite body-wall, both dorsally and or pectiniferous somite. ventrally forming an oblique X to XIII, The four pulmoniferous diaphragm, cutting off the somites. cavity of the prosoma from XIV, The first metasomatic somite. that of the mesosoma. It was (After Brauer, Zeitsch. wiss. Zool. vol. lix., described by Newport as " the 1895.) diaphragm." Only the central and horizontal parts of this structure correspond precisely to the entosternite of Limulus: the right and left anterior processes(marked ap in figs. 3 and 4, and RAP, LAP, in figs. I and 2) correspond in the two animals, and the median lateral process imp of the scorpion represents the tendinous outgrowths ALR, PLR of Limulus. The scorpion's entosternite gives rise to outgrowths, besides the great posterior flaps, pf, which form the diaphragm, unrepresented in Limulus. These are a ventral arch forming a neural canal through which the great nerve cords pass (figs. 3 and 4, snp ), and further a dorsal gastric canal and arterial canal which transmit the alimentary tract and the dorsal artery respectively (figs. 3 and 4, GC, DR). In Limulus small entosternites are found in each somite of the appendage-bearing mesosoma, and we find in Scorpio, in the only somite of the mesosoma which has a welldeveloped pair of appendages, that of the pectens, a small entosternite with ten pairs of muscles inserted into it. The supra-pectinal entosternite lies ventral to the nerve cords.

In Mygale (figs. 5 and 6) the form of the entosternite is more like that of Limulus than is that of Scorpio. The anterior notch Ph.N. is similar to that in Limulus, whilst the imbricate triangular pieces of the posterior median region resemble the similarlyplaced structures of Limulus in a striking manner.

It must be confessed that we are singularly ignorant as to the functional significance of these remarkable organs - the entosternites. Their movement in an upward or downward direction in Limulus and Mygale must exert a pumping action on the blood contained in the dorsal arteries and the ventral veins respectively. In Scorpio the completion of the horizontal plate by oblique flaps, so as to form an actual diaphragm shutting off the cavity of the prosoma from the rest of the body, possibly gives to the organs contained in the anterior chamber a physiological advantage in respect of the supply of arterial blood and its separation from the venous blood of the mesosoma. Possibly the movement of the diaphragm may determine the passage of air into or out of the lung-sacs. Muscular fibres connected with the suctorial pharynx are in Limulus inserted into the entosternite, and the activity of the two organs may be correlated.

5. The Blood and the Bloodvascular System. - The blood fluids of Limulus and Scorpio are very similar. Not only are the blood corpuscles of Limulus more like in form and granulation to those of Scorpio than to those of any Crustacean, but the fluid is in both animals strongly impregnated with the blue-coloured respiratory proteid, haemocyanin. This body occurs also in the blood of Crustacea and of Molluscs, but its abundance in both Limulus and Scorpio is very marked, and gives to the freshly-shed blood a strong indigo-blue tint.

The great dorsal contractile vessel or " heart " of Limulus is closely similar to that of Scorpio; its ostia or incurrent orifices are FIG. 20. - View of the ventral surface of the mid-line of the prosomatic region s/ of Limulus polyphemus. The coxae of the five pairs of limbs following the chelicerae were arranged in a series on each side between the mouth, M, and the metasternites, mets. cam sf, The sub-frontal median sclerite. M Ch, The chelicerae.

cam, The camerostome or upper lip. M, The mouth.

pmst, The promesosternal sclerite or chitinous plate, unpaired.

mets mets, The right and left metasternites (corresponding to the similarly placed pentagonal sternite of Scorpio). Natural size.

(After Lankester.) placed in the same somites as those of Scorpio, but there is one additional posterior pair. The origin of the paired arteries from the PrGabp 1 ._.

abp 2 ._ abp3 abp4 abp5. Y abps .... abp7 FIG. 17. - Embryo of scorpion, ventral view showing somites and appendages.

sgc, Frontal groove.

sa, Rudiment of lateral eyes.

obi, Camerostome (upper lip). so, Sense-organ of Patten.

PrGabp l, Rudiment of the appendage of the praegenital somite which disappears.

abp2, Rudiment of the right half of the genital operculum.

abp3, Rudiment of the right pecten. abp 4 to abp', Rudiments of the four appendages which carry the pulmonary lamellae.

I to VI, Rudiments of the six limbs of the prosoma.

VIIPrG, The evanescent praegenital somite.

VIII, The first mesosomatic somite VIIPrG go VIII Km ;? IX .. abp4 abp5 abps abp7 FIG. 18. - Portion of a similar embryo at a later stage of growth. The praegenital somite, VII PrG, is still present, but has lost its rudimentary appendages; go, the genital operculum, left half; Km, the left pecten; abp 4 to abp 7 , the rudimentary appendages of the lung-sacs.

(After Brauer, loc. cit.) op Sapp FIG. 19. - Section through an early embryo of Limulus longispina, showing seven transverse divisions in the region of the unsegmented anterior carapace. The seventh, VII, is anterior to the genital operculum, op, and is the cavity of the praegenital somite which is more or less completely suppressed in subsequent development, possibly indicated by the area marked VII in fig. 7 and by the great entopophyses of the prosomatic carapace.

(After Kishinouye, Journ. Sci. Coll. Japan, vol. v., 1892.) heart differs in Limulus from the arrangement obtaining in Scorpio, in that a pair of lateral commissural arteries exist in Limulus (as described by Alphonse Milne-Edwards (6)) leading to a suppression of the more primitive direct connexion of the four pairs of posterior II. IL 1 00 .. e 00 .6 (

?,. p 6 (90e00 b ", o o. oe 000000 0 o co e io??,a _e ` ao O o' 3 4;° :o o moo-:„..„:0-„,-----0 ?O 1/ // /O i Q n.

FIG. 21. - Development of the lateral eyes of a scorpion. h, Epidermic cell-layer; mes, mesoblastic connective tissue; n, nerves; II, III, IV, V, depressions of the epidermis in each of which a cuticular lens will be formed.

(From Korschelt and Heider, after Laurie.) lateral arteries and of the great median posterior arteries with the heart itself (fig. 29). The arterial system is very completely developed in both Limulus and Scorpio, branching repeatedly until minute arterioles are formed, not to be distinguished from true capillaries; FIG. 22. - Section through the lateral eye of Euscorpius italicus. lens, Cuticular lens.

nerv.c, Retinal cells (nerveend cells).

rhabd, Rhabdomes.

nerv.f, Nerve fibres of the optic nerve.

tint, Intermediate cells (lying between the bases of the retinal cells). (After Lankester and Boerne from Parker and Haswell's Textbook of Zoology, Macmillan & Co.) these open into irregular swollen vessels which are the veins or venous sinuses. A very remarkable feature in Limulus, first described by Owen, is the close accompaniment of the prosomatic nerve centres and nerves by arteries, so close indeed that the great ganglion mass and its out-running nerves are actually sunk in or invested by ch. hyp.. rh. rt. c. mcs.

FIG. 23. - Section through a portion of the lateral eye of Limulus, showing three ommatidia - A, B and C. hyp, The epidermic cell-layer (so-called hypodermis), the cells of which increase in volume below each lens, 1, and become nerve-end cells or retinula-cells, rt; in A, the letters rh point to a rhabdomere secreted by the cell rt; c, the peculiar central spherical cell; n, nerve fibres; mes, mesoblastic skeletal tissue; ch, chitinous cuticle.

(From Korschelt and Heider after Watase.) arteries. The connexion is not so intimate in Scorpio, but is nevertheless a very close one, closer than we find in any other Arthropods in which the arterial system is well developed, e.g. the Myriapoda and some of the arthrostracous Crustacea. It seems that there is a primitive tendency in the Arthropoda for the arteries to accompany the nerve cords, and a " supra-spinal " artery - that is to say, an artery in close relation to the ventral nerve cords--has been described in several cases. On the other hand, in many Arthropods, especially those which possess tracheae, the arteries do not have a long course, but soon open into wide blood sinuses. Scorpio certainly comes nearer to Limulus in the high development of its arterial system, and the intimate relation of the anterior aorta and its branches to the nerve centres and great nerves, than does any other Arthropod.

An arrangement of great functional importance in regard to the venous system must now be described, which was shown in 1883 by Lankester to be common to Limulus and Scorpio. This arrangement has not hitherto been detected in any other class than the Arachnida, and if it should ultimately prove to be peculiar to that group, would have considerable weight as a proof of the close genetic affinity of Limulus and Scorpio.

A C FIG. 24. - Diagrams of the development and adult structure of one of the paired central eyes of a scorpion.

A, Early condition before the lens is deposited, showing the folding of the epidermic cell-layer into three.

B, Diagram showing the nature of this infolding.

C, Section through the fully formed eye.

h, Epidermic cell-layer.

r, The retinal portion of the same which, owing to the infolding, lies between gl, the corneagen or lens-forming portion, and pr, the post-retinal or capsular portion or fold.

1, Cuticular lens.

g, Line separating lens from the lens-forming or corneagen cells of the epidermis.

n, Nerve fibres.

rh, Rhabdomeres.

[How the inversion of the nerve-end-cells and their connexion with the nerve-fibres is to be reconciled with the condition found in the adult, or with that of the monostichous eye, has not hitherto been explained.] (From Korschelt and Heider.) The great pericardial sinus is strongly developed in both animals. Its walls are fibrous and complete, and it holds a considerable volume of blood when the heart itself is contracted. Opening in pairs in each somite, right and left into the pericardial sinus are large veins, which bring the blood respectively from the gill-books and the lungbooks to that chamber, whence it passes by the ostia into the heart. The blood is brought to the respiratory organs in both cases by a great venous collecting sinus having a ventral median position. In both animals the wall of the pericardial sinus is connected by vertical muscular bands to the wall of the ventral venous sinus (its lateral expansions around the lung-books in Scorpio) in each somite through which the pericardium passes. There are seven pairs of these venopericardiac vertical muscles in Scorpio, and eight in Limulus (see figs. 30, 31, 32). It is obvious that the contraction of these muscles 7

?']0?0(dQOOOC?n.. ? ?

O o 'e ' e c

m_o 'o - _ - o i: ( t __ '®moo?p ®04 ??a:a?? r B A B C must cause a depression of the floor of the pericardium and a rising of the roof of the ventral blood sinus, and a consequent increase of volume and flow of blood to each. Whether the pericardium and the ventral sinus are made to expand simultaneously or all the movement is made by one only of the surfaces concerned, must depend on conditions of tension. In any case it is clear that we have in these muscles an apparatus'for causing the blood to flow differentially in increased volume into either the pericardium, through the veins leading from the respiratory organs, or from the body generally into the great sinuses which bring the blood to the respiratory organs. These muscles act so as to pump the blood through the respiratory organs.

It is not surprising that with so highly developed an arterial system Limulus and Scorpio should have a highly developed mechanism for determining the flow of blood to the respiratory organs. That this is, so to speak, a need of animals with localized respiratory FIG. 25. - Section through one of the central eyes of a young Limulus.

L, Cuticular or corneous lens. ret, Retinula cells.

hy, Epidermic cell-layer. nf, Nerve fibres.

corn, Its corneagen portion im- con. tiss, Connective tissue (mesomediately underlying the lens. blastic skeletal tissue). (After Lankester and Bourne, Q. J. Mic. Sci., 1883.) organs is seen by the existence of provisions serving a similar purpose in other animals, e.g. the branchial hearts of the Cephalopoda.

The veno-pericardiac muscles of Scorpio were seen and figured by Newport but not described by him. Those of Limulus were described and figured by Alphonse Milne-Edwards, but he called them merely " transparent ligaments," and did not discover their muscular structure. They are figured and their importance for the first time recognized in the memoir on the muscular and skeletal systems of Limulus and Scorpio by Lankester, Beck and Bourne (4).

6. Alimentary Canal and Gastric Glands. - The alimentary canal in Scorpio, as in Limulus, is provided with a powerful suctorial pharynx, in the working of which extrinsic muscles take a part. The mouth is relatively smaller in Scorpio than in Limulus - in fact is minute, as it is in all the terrestrial Arachnida which suck the juices of either animals or plants. In both, the alimentary canal takes a straight course from the pharynx (which bends under it downwards and backwards towards the mouth in Limulus) to the anus, and is a simple, narrow, cylindrical tube (fig. 33). The only point in which the gut of Limulus r

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Arachnida'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

Search for…
Enter query in the box:
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

Prev Entry
Next Entry
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology