The slipper lobster, Scyllarides latus, uses apatite and fluorapatite to protect its sensory organules
Lavalli, Kari L.
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Citation (published version)KL Lavalli, Joseph Kunkel, Ehud Spanier. 2017. "The slipper lobster, Scyllarides latus, uses apatite and fluorapatite to protect its sensory organules."
The cuticle of arthropods has been intensely studied not only to better understand the properties of a natural composite material, but also to understand how structural properties and mineral contributions to this composite offer a durable protective covering from predator and microbial attack. Thus far, most marine cuticular studies have focused on the American lobster, Homarus americanus, or several crab species, but have largely ignored other types of lobsters, such as spiny or slipper lobsters that have exoskeletons differing in both structural properties (i.e., amount of trabeculae present in pits and spines) and resistance to structural failure. Using an electron microprobe, we analyzed various segments of the exoskeleton of the Mediterranean slipper lobster, Scyllarides latus, to determine the mineral content in discrete domains of cuticle. EMP analysis determined that the cuticle of S. latus is similar to that of H. americanus in that it contains carbonate apatite in canal linings and in the areas surrounding sensory organules (setae). The slipper lobster also uses a fluorapatite mineral that further adds strength to the shell. Results will be discussed in the context of what this means for defense against attack and differences in environmental water chemistry and resilience to climate change.