Mushroom bodies in Reptantia reflect a major transition in crustacean brain evolution

Nicholas J. Strausfeld, Marcel E. Sayre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Brain centers possessing a suite of neuroanatomical characters that define mushroom bodies of dicondylic insects have been identified in mantis shrimps, which are basal malacostracan crustaceans. Recent studies of the caridean shrimp Lebbeus groenlandicus further demonstrate the existence of mushroom bodies in Malacostraca. Nevertheless, received opinion promulgates the hypothesis that domed centers called hemiellipsoid bodies typifying reptantian crustaceans, such as lobsters and crayfish, represent the malacostracan cerebral ground pattern. Here, we provide evidence from the marine hermit crab Pagurus hirsutiusculus that refutes this view. P. hirsutiusculus, which is a member of the infraorder Anomura, reveals a chimeric morphology that incorporates features of a domed hemiellipsoid body and a columnar mushroom body. These attributes indicate that a mushroom body morphology is the ancestral ground pattern, from which the domed hemiellipsoid body derives and that the “standard” reptantian hemiellipsoid bodies that typify Astacidea and Achelata are extreme examples of divergence from this ground pattern. This interpretation is underpinned by comparing the lateral protocerebrum of Pagurus with that of the crayfish Procambarus clarkii and Orconectes immunis, members of the reptantian infraorder Astacidea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-282
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • evolution
  • hemiellipsoid body
  • homology
  • mushroom body
  • Pancrustacea
  • Reptantia
  • RRID: AB_572263
  • RRID:AB_1157911
  • RRID:AB_1566510
  • RRID:AB_301787
  • RRID:AB_477,019
  • RRID:AB_528479
  • RRID:AB_572268
  • RRID:AB_572263


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