The accumulation of fluorescent age pigments in the trochid gastropod Monodonta lineata
Several recent studies have shown the potential value of chloroform-soluble fluorescent age pigments (FAPs) in determining the age of marine invertebrates with no permanent hard parts. The primary assumption in estimating age from FAPs is that there is a linear (or at least monotonie) increase in FAP content with time. We have tested this assumption with the trochid gastropod Monodonta lineata, a species whose age can be established unequivocally from shell growth checks. Samples of 10 age classes (1.5–10.5 yr) were obtained and FAPs extracted from lyophilised cerebral ganglia and digestive gland. The fluorescence emission spectra were similar to those reported for other organisms, though the wavelength of maximum intensity varied with tissue, sex and age. Cerebral ganglia often showed two major emission peaks, digestive gland only one. Thin-layer chromatography indicated that at least three fluorescent compounds were present in the extracts. Digestive gland total FAP content did not vary for the first 5 yr of growth, but then trebled during the next 5 yr. The tissue concentration of FAP showed no statistically significant trend. Cerebral ganglia total FAP content increased during the first 5 yr then remained constant for the next 3 yr before declining. There was a steady decline in the concentration of cerebral ganglion FAP throughout life. These patterns indicate a complex relationship between FAP content and calendar age, and indicate that (at least in Monodonta) FAPs have little practical value for determining age.
Authors: Clarke, Andrew, Kendall, Michael A., Gore, Deborah J.