Transmission electron microscopy was used to analyze the structure and organization of the intracuticular pore canal system in 34 species of amphipod crustaceans. Pore canals were detectable in all species, including those that, from scanning electron microscopy, had been considered to lack them. Canal structure ranges from simple transcuticular passages of uniform diameter to more elaborate systems with distal canal dilatations variously equipped with electron dense collars, tubular filaments, single or multiple channels leading to the surface and transverse partitions separating canal contents of different electron densities. Considerable branching between tubular elements of the canal system is evident in many species. In most species the canals communicate with the outside via epicuticular channels. Even in those species in which this communication was not established, their epicuticle generally contains abundant cavities with external pores. Although some consistency in structure and organization is present among a few groups of taxonomically related species, pore canal characteristics generally could not be correlated with habitat or life style. It is suggested that the structural and organizational variety present reflects a considerable array of functions among amphipod pore canal systems. © 1992.
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