Tools for crushing diatoms - opal teeth in copepods feature a rubber-like bearing composed of resilin

Michels, Jan, Vogt, Juergen and Gorb, Stanislav N. (2012) Tools for crushing diatoms - opal teeth in copepods feature a rubber-like bearing composed of resilin Scientific Reports, 2 . p. 465. DOI 10.1038/srep00465.

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Supplementary data:

Abstract

Diatoms are generally known for superior mechanical properties of their mineralised shells. Nevertheless, many copepod crustaceans are able to crush such shells using their mandibles. This ability very likely requires feeding tools with specific material compositions and properties. For mandibles of several copepod species silica-containing parts called opal teeth have been described. The present study reveals the existence of complex composite structures, which contain, in addition to silica, the soft and elastic protein resilin and form opal teeth with a rubber-like bearing in the mandibles of the copepod Centropages hamatus. These composite structures likely increase the efficiency of the opal teeth while simultaneously reducing the risk of mechanical damage. They are supposed to have coevolved with the diatom shells in the evolutionary arms race, and their development might have been the basis for the dominance of the copepods within today's marine zooplankton.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Ecology ; Evolution ; Zoology ; Biooceanography
Research affiliation: Kiel University
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1038/srep00465
ISSN: 2045-2322
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 09:46
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2014 07:52
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/24120

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