New paper in Journal of Morphology


Characterization of the Arion vulgaris pedal gland system.

Greistorfer S, Suppan J, Cyran N, Klepal W, Rudoll L & von Byern J (2020)
Journal of Morphology 281; 1059-1071. doi: 10.1002/jmor.21231. Link. Published online 10.07.2020


The most common European gastropod species, Arion vulgaris, is one of the most troublesome pests for private garden owners and commercial agriculturists. The sticky and hard to remove secretion produced by these animals allows them to overcome most artificial and natural barriers. However, this highly adherent biopolymer has recently shown great potential for novel wound-healing applications in medicine. Nevertheless, our knowledge of the underlying gland system is still limited and few studies on the ventral gland system are available. We studied the lateral and ventral pedal glands in Arion vulgaris to determine their secretory content histochemically and through lectin assays. Using these histological and histochemical methods we differentiate five gland types with different mucus composition in the lateral pedal region of the foot of Arion vulgaris. These contain sulphated and carboxylated mucosubstances (positive Alcian blue staining) but lack hexose-containing mucosubstances (negative PAS staining). In the ventral pedal region, four gland types can be differentiated producing sulphated and carboxylated mucosubstances. Within the ventral mucus, a high affinity for the lectins PNA and WGA is observed. While the lateral glands are histochemically negative for PAS, a positive staining with the lectin JAC is observed. Arion vulgaris shows clear morphological differences from other arionid species. This raises the question whether the variation in the chemistry of the secretory material and mucus composition is the result of different functions and/or is related to the animals' different environmental conditions. A comparison of some glands of Arion vulgaris with those of the helicid species Helix pomatia and Cepaea hortensis indicates morphological similarities.