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Functional Morphology and Diversity$
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Les Watling and Martin Thiel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195398038

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195398038.001.0001

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The Crustacean Integument

The Crustacean Integument

Structure and Function

(p.140) 5 The Crustacean Integument
Functional Morphology and Diversity

Richard M. Dillaman

Robert Roer

Thomas Shafer

Shannon Modla

Oxford University Press

The dorsobranchial exoskeleton of decapods has served as the archetype for studies of the structure and formation of crustacean cuticle. This cuticle consists of four layers: the epi-, exo-, and endocuticles, which are mineralized with calcium carbonate, and the inner membranous layer. The inner three layers are formed from chitin-protein fibrils arranged in parallel lamellae that have a constantly changing orientation from layer to layer. The exoskeleton is thus a composite structure with remarkable biomechanical resistance to fracture propagation. In different species and within different regions of the body of individuals, the cuticle shows many variations on this basic pattern. The cuticle is cyclically shed and reformed to permit growth. The cyclical nature of cuticle formation and the temporal and spatial separation of the events of matrix deposition and calcification render the crustacean cuticle an excellent model for the study of the control of biomineralization.

Keywords:   crustacean cuticle, Crustacea, hypodermis, molt cycle, cuticle structure, cuticular synthesis, mineralization

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