Operculum

From Academic Kids

In Biology operculum (Latin for "little lid") has been used to describe several completely separate features.

Contents

Gastropods

The operculum (plural : opercula or operculums) of gastropods is a corneous plate at the opening of the shell, attached dorsally to the foot. This fingernail-like structure seals the aperture, serving as a cover against predators when the snail body is retracted. It also enables the snail to survive periods of drought.

The operculum has a concentric structure and a nucleus near the parietal margin (close to the umbilicus).

There are two types of operculum :

  • The first type consists of a thin to rather thick corneous material. This matter is supple, single layered, and circular to subcircular in shape.
  • The second type has a multi-layered structure, with a corneous base and a calcareous overlay which is sometimes carved with spiral structures and grooves.

The operculum sculpture helps us to tell apart and sort related groups (genera) of land operculates.

Pulmonates (lunged snails) lack an operculum, but have instead an epiphragm (a membranaceous or calcareous septum).

Gastropod: external link

This site also provides fairly extensive material on the growth, development, and physiology of the gastropod operculum as well as hundreds of pictures of both the operculum and it's host shell.

Fish

The operculum in fish is the hard bony flap covering the gills. The morphology of this anatomical feature varies greatly between species. For example, the Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) has a posteriorly and dorsally oriented rounded extension with a small black splotch present.

Botany

In botany, operculum may be used to describe any of the following:

  • A flap of the spore-bearing sporangium of a moss, covering the peristome (appendages surrounding the mouth of a moss capsule);
  • The cap of the ascus in certain ascomycetous fungi;
  • The covering of a pyxidium (capsule whose upper part falls off when the seeds are released) of a plant, such as the plantain;
  • The flared leaflet that prevents a pitcher plant from accumulating rainwater.

Brain

The operculum is part of the inferior frontal gyrus of the frontal lobe in the brain. One famous part of the operculum is Broca's area which plays an important role in speech production.eo:operkulo

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