We examined the soft tissues of live freshwater mussels, Eastern elliptio Elliptio complanata, via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), acquiring data with a widely available human whole-body MRI system. Anatomical features depicted in the profile images included the foot, stomach, intestine, anterior and posterior adductor muscles, and pericardial cavity. Noteworthy observations on soft tissue morphology included a concentration of lipids at the most posterior aspect of the foot, the presence of hemolymph-filled fissures in the posterior adductor muscle, the presence of a relatively large hemolymph-filled sinus adjacent to the posterior adductor muscle (at the ventral-anterior aspect), and segmentation of the intestine (a diagnostic description not reported previously in Unionidae). Relatively little is known about the basic biology and ecological physiology of freshwater mussels. Traditional approaches for studying anatomy and tissue processes, and for measuring sub-lethal physiological stress, are destructive or invasive. Our study, the first to evaluate freshwater mussel soft tissues by MRI, clarifies the body plan of unionid mussels and demonstrates the efficacy of this technology for in vivo evaluation of the structure, function, and integrity of mussel soft tissues. ?? 2008, The American Microscopical Society, Inc.
Additional Publication Details
Magnetic resonance imaging of live freshwater mussels (Unionidae)