Radiolar eyes of serpulid worms (Annelida, Serpulidae): structures, function, and phototransduction

Bok, Michael J., Porter, Megan L., Ten Hove, Harry A., Smith, Richard, and Nilsson, Dan-Eric (2017) Radiolar eyes of serpulid worms (Annelida, Serpulidae): structures, function, and phototransduction. Biological Bulletin, 233 (1). pp. 39-57.

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Fan worms, represented by sabellid and serpulid polychaetes, have an astonishing array of unusual eyes and photoreceptors located on their eponymous feeding appendages. Here we organize the previous descriptions of these eyes in serpulids and report new anatomical, molecular, and physiological data regarding their structure, function, and evolution and the likely identity of their phototransduction machinery. We report that, as in sabellids, serpulids display a broad diversity of radiolar eye arrangements and ocellar structures. Furthermore, the visual pigment expressed in the eyes of Spirobranchus corniculatus, a species of the charismatic Christmas tree worms, absorbs light maximally at 464 nm in wavelength. This visual pigment closely matches the spectrum of downwelling irradiance in shallow coral reef habitats and lends support to the hypothesis that these radiolar photoreceptors function as a silhouette-detecting burglar alarm that triggers a rapid withdrawal response when the worm is threatened by potential predators. Finally, we report on the transcriptomic sequencing results for the radiolar eyes of S. corniculatus, which express invertebrate c-type opsins in their ciliary radiolar photoreceptors, closely related to the opsin found in the radiolar eyes of the sabellid Acromegalomma interruptum. We explore the potential for a shared evolutionary lineage between the radiolar photoreceptors of serpulids and sabellids and consider these unique innovations in the broader context of metazoan eye evolution.

Item ID: 51827
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1939-8697
Keywords: MSP, microspectrophotometry, PIA, phylogenetically informed annotation, TEM, transmission electron microscopy
Funders: Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Swedish Research Council, John and Laurine Proud Foundation, Australian Museum (AM), National Science Foundation (NSF)
Projects and Grants: AM Lizard Island Research Station, NSF grant DEB1556819, NSF grant DEB1532382
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2017 07:39
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310911 Animal structure and function @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310913 Invertebrate biology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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