A test for mucus removal in the chiton Lepidochitona cinerea (Linnaeus, 1767) (Polyplacophora: Chitonida: Ischnochitonidae)

Lauren H. Sumner-Rooney, Shaun Cain, Gerard P. Brennan, Julia D. Sigwart

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Several methods have been proposed to ‘clean’ the soft tissues of molluscs of mucus, so that the surface cilia can be examined microscopically. We report the first empirical test of the effectiveness of methods for removing mucus in the pallial cavity surface of chitons. Three methods were compared, at several time intervals: the enzyme hyaluronidase, the mucolytic agent N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and seawater washing via the natural action of cilia in excised tissue. Treatment in NAC for 10 min produced the best results, and we recommend this protocol as a starting point for further investigation on mucus removal in a broader suite of taxa. We present the first description of the pallial surface cilia in the chiton Lepidochitona cinerea. During the course of this study, we also determined that these chitons were frequently infested with a ciliate protozoan parasite, Trichodina sp., which have been historically reported from chitons but never studied in detail. The parasites were absent where antimucus treatments were effective, but their abundance and large size (about 30-mm diameter) in less successful treatments obscured the view of the pallial cavity surface.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-264
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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