Tegumental glands are a ubiquitous feature of the decapod cuticle. In the fifth pair of pereiopods (P5) of Aegla platensis Schmitt, 1942, these tegumental glands (PeTG's) are similar to those described in other decapod crustaceans. Type 1 PeTG's, with mucous and serous cells and type 2 PeTG's, with serous cells only are organized into proximal, medial and distal clusters along the appendage. Both types of PeTG's possess secretory cells arranged concentrically around a central duct. These secretory cells have well developed Rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) and numerous Golgi Complexes, and possess electron-lucid and electron dense vesicles. The finely granular aspect of the electron-lucid vesicles suggest they contain a mucous-like substance, while electron-dense vesicles probably contain a substance of a proteinaceous nature. Despite various hypotheses, there are few indications that these substances act as cleaning agents. However, the cytoplasm of the secretory cells appear to be composed of concentric lamellas that could be responsible for the production of surfactants (cleaning substances). In the Anomura, P5 is involved in grooming but there presently is insufficient evidence to show that the glands play a role in this process.
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Vol. 27 • No. 4