Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Receptor elements in the coxal region of Decapoda Crustacea

J. S. Alexandrowicza11 and Mary Whiteara2

a1 Plymouth Laboratory

a2 Department of Zoology, University College London


In the 4th to 8th thoracic segments of decapod Crustacea, at the bases of the peraeopods, sensory organs of various kinds have been found. They have been observed in Homarus vulgaris, Astacus astacus, Palinurus vulgaris, Eupagurus bemhardus, Carcinus maenas, Maia squinadoand described in greater detail for Homarus, Carcinus and Maia.

In all species examined there is in each peraeopod a proprioceptor consisting of a thin muscle with various nerve elements which extends from a point of the endophragmal skeleton situated near the ventral ganglia to the anteroventral part of the coxa. In the 4th to 7th thoracic segments of Homarus, in the 4th to 8th of Palinurus and Astacus, and in the 4th of the Brachyura, the receptor muscle is proximally attached to the tip of a chitinous projection of the endophragmal skeleton for which the term ‘receptor rod’ is proposed. In other instances it originates on the plate of the endosternite.

The nerve components of this ‘muscular receptor’ are of two sorts: (1) motor nerves spreading their branches over the whole length of the muscle, and (2) processes of the sensory neurons distributing their ramifications on the connective tissue associated with the muscle at its proximal end. The arrangement of the sensory elements is different in various species, but they all exhibit one feature, unusual in invertebrates, viz. their cell-bodies are situated within the central nervous system and not outside it.