biology imaging notes

Metamorphosis of a sea biscuit

Metamorphosis is a dramatic life-changing event for many invertebrates. It’s the intersection between two distinct lives – larval and adult. It is how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

The process is fascinating, specially when you have the chance to see it happening with your own eyes. You too can see it in the video A Sea Biscuit’s Life.

Recently the community website the Node from The Company of Biologists announced a thematic image competition. The images needed to be related to developmental biology and some sort of intersection.

Because intersection is essentially another word for metamorphosis, I submitted a photomicrograph of a metamorphosing sea biscuit from my master’s thesis research. It made it to the final and was a runner-up!

Metamorphosis of a sea biscuit.
Metamorphosis is a drastic (and common) event in animal life histories intersecting larval and adult stages. The photo shows a sea biscuit during metamorphosis. The apparently amorphous mass of cells exposes the duality of this transformation moment. The larval body retracted and lost its form, but larval skeleton spicules are still attached (at the top). At the bottom developing podia and spines already move and interact with the substrate as the sea biscuit learns how to walk its first steps.

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