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All Lucinidae species studied so far possess sulphide-oxidizing, chemosymbiotic bacteria housed in bacteriocytes of gill filaments. The ecology, functional anatomy and evolution of the Lucinidae must be considered in relation to this symbiosis. The ctenidia have been extensively studied but other anatomical structures peculiar to lucinids have received much less attention. Reviewed are the morphological diversity of living lucinids, highlighting features of their anatomy including ctenidia, pallial apertures, anterior adductor muscle, pallial blood vessel and mantle gills. The latter are much more complex than previously understood and are here redescribed. They comprise folded structures located near the anterior adductor muscle in Codakia, Phacoides and Lucina, and on the septum of Anodontia. These are interpreted as secondary respiratory surfaces, their location enabling the separation of the anterior inflow of oxygenated water from sulphide-containing water. The latter is released from the sediment by the probing activities of the highly extensible foot and is pumped over the gill through the pedal gape and perhaps also via the exhalant tube. The shell features of Ilionia from the Silurian Period suggests that the lucinid chemosymbiosis is an ancient association.

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