Mollusca: Circulatory and Nervous Systems

Circulatory and Nervous Systems

The blood circulates through the gill filaments, where exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen occurs between the blood and the water flowing over the gill surface. Most molluskan blood contains a respiratory pigment called hemocyanin, a copper compound. When oxygenated such blood is bluish in color; when deoxygenated the blood is colorless. Only a few mollusks have hemoglobin in their blood. Blood circulation is variable within the phylum, but is generally mediated by a muscular heart, which distributes the blood to the tissues. Most mollusks possess well-developed sensory organs. The highest degree of development of the nervous system is found in the class Cephalopoda (octopuses, squids, and nautiluses).

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