The neural origins of shell structure and pattern in aquatic mollusks

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Apr 21;106(16):6837-42. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0810311106. Epub 2009 Apr 7.


We present a model to explain how the neurosecretory system of aquatic mollusks generates their diversity of shell structures and pigmentation patterns. The anatomical and physiological basis of this model sets it apart from other models used to explain shape and pattern. The model reproduces most known shell shapes and patterns and accurately predicts how the pattern alters in response to environmental disruption and subsequent repair. Finally, we connect the model to a larger class of neural models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Structures / anatomy & histology*
  • Animal Structures / growth & development
  • Animal Structures / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Environment
  • Models, Neurological
  • Mollusca / anatomy & histology*
  • Mollusca / ultrastructure
  • Nervous System / anatomy & histology*
  • Neurosecretory Systems
  • Pigmentation
  • Time Factors
  • Water*


  • Water