The larval stage of Polypodium hydriforme is planuliform and parasitic inside the growing oocytes of acipenserid fishes. The larva has inverted germ layers and a special envelope, the trophamnion, surrounding it within the host oocyte. The trophamnion is a giant unicellular provisory structure derived from the second polar body and performing both protective and digestive functions, clearly a result of adaptation to parasitism. The trophamnion displays microvilli on its inner surface, and irregular protrusions anchoring it to the yolk on its outer surface. Its cytoplasm contains long nuclear fragments, ribosomes, mitochondria, microtubules, microfilaments, prominent Golgi bodies, primary lysosomes, and secondary lysosomes with partially digested inclusions.
The cells of the larva proper are poorly differentiated. No muscular, glandular, neural, interstitial, or nematocyst-forming cells have been found. The entodermal (outer layer) cells bear flagella and contain rough endoplasmic reticulum; the ectodermal (inner layer) cells lack cilia and contain an apical layer of acid mucopolysaccharid granules. The cells of both layers contain mitochondria, microtubules, and Golgi bodies; their nuclei display large nucleoli with nucleolonema-like structure, decondensed chromatin, and some perichromatin granules. At their apical rims, the ectodermal cells form septate junctions; laterally, the cells of both layers form simple contacts and occasional interdigitations. The lateral surfaces of entodermal cells are strengthened by microtubules.