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290
ARACHNIDA
of Limulus and Scorpio. Perhaps the most important general agreement of Scorpio compared with Limulus and the Eurypterines is the division of the body into the three regions (or tagmata)—prosoma, mesosoma and metasoma—each consisting of six segments, the prosoma having leg-like appendages, the mesosoma having foliaceous appendages, and the metasoma being destitute of appendages.


1911 Britannica-Arachnida-Limulus polyphemus4.png
Fig. 9.—Ventral view of the posterior carapace or meso-metasomatic (opisthospmatic) fusion of Limulus polyphemus. The soft integument and limbs of the mesosoma have been removed as well as all the viscera and muscles, so that the inner surface of the terga of these somites with their entopophyses are seen. The unsegmented dense chitinous sternal plate of the metasoma (XIII to XVIII) is not removed. Letters as in fig. 7.

(After Lankester, loc. cit.)


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Fig. 10.—Ventral view of a scorpion, Palamnaeus indus, de
Geer, to show the arrangement of the coxae of the limbs, the
sternal elements, genital plate and pectens.

M, Mouth behind the oval median camerostome.
I, The chelicerae.
II, The chelae.
III to VI, the four pairs of walking legs.
VIIgo, The genital somite or first somite of the mesosoma with
the genital operculum (a fused pair of limbs).
VIIIp, The pectiniferous somite.
IXstg to XIIstg, the four pulmonary somites.
met, The pentagonal metasternite of the prosoma behind all the
coxae.
x, The sternum of the pectiniferous somite.
y, The broad first somite of the metasoma.

1911 Britannica-Arachnida-Limulus polyphemus5.png
Fig. 11.—Third leg of Limulus polyphemus, showing the division
of the fourth segment of the leg by a groove S into two, thus
giving seven segments to the leg as in scorpion.

(From a drawing by Pocock.)

There are a number of other important points of structure besides those referring to the somites and appendages in which Limulus agrees with Scorpio or other Arachnida and differs from other Arthropoda. The chief of these are as follows:—
In 1893, some years after the identification of the somites of Limulus with those of Scorpio, thus indicated, had been published, zoologists were startled by the discovery by a Japanese zoologist, Kishinouye (8), of a seventh prosomatic somite in the embryo of Limulus longispina. This was seen in longitudinal sections, as shown in fig. 19. The simple identification of somite with somite in Limulus and Scorpio seemed to be threatened by this discovery. But in 1896 Dr August Brauer of Marburg (9) discovered in the embryo of Scorpio a seventh prosomatic somite (see VII PrG, figs. 17 and 18), or, if we please so to term it, a praegenital somite, hitherto unrecognized. In the case of Scorpio this segment is indicated in the embryo by the presence of a pair of rudimentary appendages, carried by a well-marked somite. As in Limulus, so in Scorpio, this unexpected somite and its appendages disappear in the course of development. In fact, more or less complete “excalation” of the somite takes place. Owing to its position it is convenient to term the somite which is excalated in Limulus and Scorpio “the praegenital somite.” It appears not improbable that the sternal plates wedged in between the last pair of legs in both Scorpio and Limulus, viz. the pentagonal sternite of Scorpio (fig. 10) and the chilaria of Limulus (see figs. 13 and 20), may in part represent in the adult the sternum of the excalated praegenital somite. This has not been demonstrated by an actual following out of the development, but the position of these pieces and the fact that they are (in Limulus) supplied by an independent segmental nerve, favours the view that they may comprise the sternal area of the vanished praegenital somite. This interpretation, however, of the “metasternites” of Limulus and Scorpio is opposed by the coexistence in Thelyphonus (figs. 55, 57 and 58) of a similar metasternite with a complete praegenital somite. H. J. Hansen (10) has recognized that the “praegenital somite” persists in a rudimentary condition, forming a “waist” to the series of somites in the Pedipalpi and Araneae. The present writer is of opinion that it will be found most convenient to treat this evanescent somite as something special, and not to attempt to reckon it to either the prosoma or the mesosoma. These will then remain as typically composed each of six appendage-bearing somites—the prosoma comprising in addition the ocular prosthomere.[1] When the praegenital somite or traces of it are present it should not be called “the seventh prosomatic” or the “first mesosomatic,” but simply the “praegenital somite.” The first segment of the mesosoma of Scorpio and Limulus thus remains the first segment, and can be identified as such throughout the Eu-arachnida, carrying as it always does the genital apertures. But it is necessary to remember, in the light of recent discoveries, that the sixth prosomatic pair of appendages is carried on the seventh somite of the whole series, there being two prosthomeres or somites in front of the mouth, the first carrying the eyes, the second the chelicerae; also that the first mesosomatic or genital somite is not the seventh or even the eighth of the whole senes of somites which have been historically present, but is the ninth, owing to the presence or to the excalation of a praegenital somite. It seems that confusion and trouble will be best avoided by abstaining from the introduction of the non-evident somites, the ocular and the praegenital, into the numerical nomenclature of the component somites of the three great body regions. We shall, therefore, ignoring the ocular somite, speak of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth leg-bearing somites of the prosoma, and indicate the appendages by the Roman numerals, I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and whilst ignoring the praegenital somite we shall speak of the first, second, third, &c., somite of the mesosoma or opisthosoma (united mesosoma and metasoma) and indicate them by the Arabic numerals.
1. The Composition of the Head (that is to say, of the anterior part of the prosoma) with especial Reference to the Region in Front of the Mouth.—It appears (see Arthropoda) that there is embryological evidence of the existence of two somites in Arachnida which were originally post-oral, but have become prae-oral by adaptational shifting of the oral aperture. These forwardly-slipped somites are called “prosthomeres.” The first of these has, in Arachnids as in other Arthropods, its pair of appendages represented by the eyes. The second has for its pair of appendages the small pair of limbs which in all living Arachnids is either chelate or retrovert (as in spiders), and is known as the chelicerae. It is possible, as maintained by some writers (Patten and others), that the lobes of the cerebral nervous mass in Arachnids indicate a larger number of prosthomeres as having fused in this region, but there is no embryological evidence at present which justifies us in assuming the existence in Arachnids of more than two prosthomeres. The position of the chelicerae of Limulus and of the ganglionic nerve-masses from which they receive their nerve-supply, is closely similar to that of the same structures in Scorpio. The cerebral mass is in Limulus more easily separated by dissection as a median lobe distinct from the laterally-placed ganglia of the chelceral somite than is the case in Scorpio, but the relations are practically the same in the two forms. Formerly it was supposed that in Limulus both the chelicerae and the next following pair of appendages were prosthomerous, as in Crustacea, but the dissections of Alphonse Milne-Edwards (6) demonstrated
  1. See the article Arthropoda for the use of the term “prosthomere.”