Laboratory of Evolutionary Morphology

Staff Gallery

Laboratory of evolutionary morphology exists as an independent scientific unit since 1965. It has been founded and headed by a known scientist, Lenin Prize laureate, member opf the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, academician A.V. Ivanov. 20 years later, laboratory was headed by his favorite disciple Yu.V. Mamkaev, widely known specialist on morphology and taxonomy of flatworms. Since 2007, the laboratory is headed by O.V. Zaitseva, recognized specialist on evolutionary morphology of invertebrate nervous system. Laboratory performs complex comparative morphological studies of the organization of Anatomical, histological, and functional systems in representatives of different taxonomic groups of invertebrate animals, including cnidarians, lower bilateral animals Acoela, parasitic and free-living flatworms, nemertines, mollusks, annelids, bryozoans, ascidians, and some others. The circle of objects studied in the laboratory includes representatives of the mentioned animal groups from all the oceans of Earth, the Black Sea, arctic and Far Eastern seas, freshwater reservoirs of European Russia, Middle Asia, the Lake Baikal, terrestrial snails and slugs of European Russia, Crimea, and Caucasus. Laboratory obtains laboratory cultures of tropical mollusks. The main part in studies is given to evolutionary and ontogenetic peculiarities of the formation and development of nervous system, receptor organs, and musculoskeletal system of animals. At present, the laboratory is virtually a single center of studies of evolutionary invertebrate neuromorphology in Russia.


10 employees (9 researchers, 1 collection keeper).

Olga V. Zaitseva (Head of Laboratory, Principal Researcher, Doctor of Biological Sciences)

Evdokia A. Evnukova (Senior Collection Keeper)

Anatoly A. Petrov (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Sergey A. Petrov (Junior Researcher)

Olga I. Raikova (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Kseniya M. Serov (Junior Researcher)

Roman V. Smirnov (Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Victor V. Starunov (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Zinaida I. Starunova (Junior Researcher)

Ksenia V. Shunkina (Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Topic of State Assignment

“Morphological and molecular aspects of evolution and diversity in protists and invertebrate metazoans”
PI: Headr of Laboratory, Doctor of Biological Sciences Olga V. Zaitseva
No. 1021051703357-3

Laboratory collections


Collection of the Laboratory of Evolutionary Morphology includes the largest world’s collection of preserved Pogonophora specimens (about 3500 samples, about 450 type specimens, 96 of 172 species of Pogonophora of the world fauna), collection of histological slides of Pogonophora (59 species), embryological collection of histological slides of Pogonophora (9 species), neurohistological collection of constant slides of insect nervous system, collection of constant histological slides of annelids, and collection of histological slides of the earthworm Allolobophora caliginosa (Aporrectodea caliginosa) nervous system.

Main publications of the Laboratory staff

Zaitseva O.V., Smirnov R.V., Starunova Z.I., Vedenin A.A., Starunov V.V. Sensory cells and the organization of the peripheral nervous system of the siboglinid Oligobrachia haakonmosbiensis Smirnov, 2000. BMC Zoology, 7: 16.

Serova K.M., Belikova E.V., Kotenko O.N., Vishnyakov A.E., Bogdanov E.A., Zaitseva O.V., Shunatova N.N., Ostrovsky A.N. 2022. Reduction, rearrangement, fusion and hypertrophy: evolution of muscular system in polymorphic zooids of cheilostome Bryozoa. Organisms Diversity & Evolution.

Zaitseva O.V., Petrov S.A., Petrov A.A. Sensory systems of Lineus ruber (Nemertea, Pilidiophora). Zoomorphology, 2020, 139: 447–459 (2020).

Kutyumov, V.A., Predeus, A.V., Starunov, V.V., Maltseva, A.L., Ostrovsky, A.N. 2021. Mitochondrial gene order of the freshwater bryozoan Cristatella mucedo retains ancestral lophotrochozoan features. Mitochondrion, 59: 96–104.

Zaitseva O.V. 2016. Stability, variability, and parallelisms in the development of distant sensory systems: Olfactory and visual systems in the phylogeny and ontogeny of gastropods. Biology Bulletin 43(3): 195–207.

Shunkina K.V. Zaytseva O.V., Starunov V.V, Ostrovsky A.N. 2015. Comparative morphology of the nervous system in three phylactolaemate bryozoans. Frontiers in Zoology 12: 1-27.

Mamkaev Yu.V. 2005. Body cavities in flatworms and the gonocoel theory of coelom. In: Vorobyeva E.I., Striganova B.R. (Eds.) Evolutionary factors in the formation of animal diversity. Moscow: KMK Scientific Press Ltd.: 71–78. [Russian]

Mamkaev Yu.V. 2004. Darwinism and nomogenesis. In: Fundamental Zoological Studies. Theory and Methods. Moscow — St. Petersburg: KMK Scientific Press Ltd.: 114–143. [Russian]

Raikova O.I. 2004. Neuroanatomy of basal bilaterians (Xenoturbellida, Nemertodermatida, Acoela) and its phylogenetic implications. PhD thesis. Åbo, Finland: Åbo Akademi University.

Zaitseva O.V. 2000. Projectional connections and a hypothetical scheme of structural organization of procerbrums of terrestrial molluscs. Journal of Evolutionary Biochemistry and Physiology 36(5): 604–620.

Zaitseva O.V., Vinogradov A.E. 1998. A biological method of determining the total toxicity and major toxicants in water (variants) — Patent No. 2110067. MPK: G01N33/18. Bulletin of Inventions 12. [Russian]

Zaitseva O.V. 1997. Behavioral responses of molluscs: An express biotesting method of freshwater (“PRM-TEST”) — Patent No. 2082167. MPK: G01N33/18. Bulletin of Inventions 17. [Russian]

Ivanov A.V. 1994. On the systematic position of Vestimentifera. Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung fur Systematik, Ökologie und Geographie der Tiere 121: 409–456.

Ivanov A.V. 1991. Monilifera, a new subclass of Pogonophora. Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR 319: 505–507. [Russian]

Punin M.Yu. 1991. Histological organization of the intestinal epithelia of priapulids, brachiopods, bivalves, and polychaetes. St. Petersburg: Nauka. 248 p. [Russian]

Romanov V.N. 1989. Colonial ascidians of the family Didemnidae and other ascidians. The Fauna of the USSR. Vol. 1. 222 p. [Russian]

Ivanov A.V., Mamkaev Yu.V. 1973. Ciliated worms (Turbellaria), their origin and evolution. Leningrad: Nauka. 221 p. [Russian]

Ivanov A.V. 1968. The origin of multicellular animals. Phylogenetic essays. Leningrad: Nauka. 287 p. [Russian]

Mamkaev Yu.V. 1967. Essays on the morphology of acoelous turbellarians. In: Morphology of invertebrates. Leningrad: Zoological Institute AS USSR: 26–108. (Proceedings of the Zoological Institute AS USSR 44). [Russian]

Ivanov A.V. 1963. Pogonophora. London: Academic Press. 479 p.

Laboratory staff participate in the following grants

RFBR No. 16-04-00593_a. “Evolutionary pathways of turbellarian neuromuscular systems and the origin of the parasitic Plathelminthes” (PI O.I. Raikova).