Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

The Structure and Life History of Some Minute Prosobranchs of Rock Pools: Skeneopsis Planorbis (Fabricius), Omalogyra Atomus (Philippi), Rissoella Diaphana (Alder) and Rissoella Opalina (Jeffreys)

Vera Frettera1

a1 From the Department of Zoology, Birkbeck College, University of London

The external features of Skeneopsis planorbis (Fabricius) are described and compared with those of Omalogyra atomus (Philippi), Rissoella diaphana (Alder) and R. opalina (Jeffreys).

The foot has a large posterior mucous gland (Figs. 1 and 4, Pm; PI. IV, figs. 1 and 2, Al, Pl), its secretion forming a thread on which the mollusc can climb from one level to another.

Correlated with their small size are modifications of the pallial organs. Skeneopsis, the largest and least specialized, has a bipectinate osphradium, but the gill is reduced to nine filaments; the anus lies well within the mantle cavity. In the other genera osphradium and ctenidium are lost, though the latter may be represented in Rissoella by a small tract of ciliated epithelium. In the absence of a ctenidium the animals depend entirely upon pallial respiration and the stream of water through the mantle cavity is maintained by other means: from the anus strips of ciliated epithelium pass forward to the mouth of the mantle cavity, causing a strong exhalant stream and carrying away the faecal pellets. There is a compensating inhalant flow. The kidney (PI. IV, figs. 1 and 2, K), with its rich vascular supply, has migrated into the tissues of the mantle, increasing its respiratory efficiency.