X-ray micro-CT is demonstrated to be a novel technique to examine soft-tissue anatomy and is used here to reconstruct images of molluscan soft-tissue for the first time. Two micromolluscs (>1.8 mm diameter) were imaged using micro-CT, and then reconstructed to form 3D models of the tissues. Discrete organs of the alimentary system of large gastropods were also imaged. Osmium tetroxide and phosphomolybdic acid were identified as useful stains and a specimen preparation protocol is presented. Micro-CT is a rapid, non-destructive technique which complements and may in some circumstances replace traditional 3D reconstruction of molluscan specimens from histological sections. Micro-CT is faster and more spatially accurate than reconstruction from histological sections, but organs of a similar density are difficult to distinguish due to a lack of cellular detail.
Key words: X-ray microscopy; computed tomography; morphology; micromolluscs; soft tissue anatomy; alimentary system; buccal mass