Regeneration and molting effects on a proprioceptor organ in the dungeness crab, Cancer magister

H. Bernard Hartman, Robin L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Decapoda Crustacea molt in order to grow; some species, such as the Dungeness crab Cancer magister, achieve a very large size. Does sendory neuron hyperplasia in internal proprioceptors accompany this growth? To determine this, neurons in propodite‐dactylopodite (PD) chordotonal organs were counted in first walking legs of juvenile (5th through 9th instar) and adult (10th through 13th instar) C. magister. We found that the PD organs of J5 crabs have about 56 neurons; the number increases to about 61 neurons in J6 crabs. Significant hyperplasia now occurs because an average of 79 neurons are found in the PD organs of J7 crabs. Little to no hyperplasia accompanies the several succeeding juvenile and adult molts (ca. 82–86 neurons are present). Because autotomized limbs are regenerated upon molting, we also examined how the number of PD organ neurons in regenerated legs compare with those of pristine legs. Newly regenerated legs (termed 1st stage regenerates) have fewer sensory neurons than do their contralateral pristine partners (65 vs 81); larger regenerated legs which have attained nearly normal size as a result of additional molts (2nd stage regenerates) still have fewer neurons than their pristine partners (69 vs 81). Additionally, in contrast to those of pristine walking legs, the elastic strand of PD organs from 1st stage regenerates is a misshapen sheet containing a cluster of small neurons with no obvious functional organization. Nonetheless, neurophysiological recordings indicate that all the receptor types typical for pristine legs (movement and position cells) are represented. The PD organs of 2nd stage regenerates differentiate to the shape and neuronal organization of pristine legs. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1994


  • chordotonal organ
  • hyperplasia
  • proprioceptor
  • regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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