, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 69-86

The larva of Rhabdopleura compacta (Hemichordata)

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Abstract

Rhabdopleura compacta (Hineks) has a motile larva. It is evenly ciliated, and swims by rotating about its long axis. The larva is lecithotrophic, and contains a considerable amount of yolk within the blastocoel. The blastocoel is lined with a layer of flattened cells early in development, before gastrulation has begun. The endoderm is formed by invagination. Initially, the endoderm cells are tall, columnar, and contain much yolk. Nerve fibres can be seen amongst the ectoderm cells very early in development. The ectoderm cells are separated from the inner layers and yolk by a basement lamella. There is yolk within the cells as well as in the blastocoel. Some of the yolk within the blastocoelic cavity is contained within cells and some of it is extracellular. The larvae settle during gastrulation, attaching themselves to the substratum. They tend to settle in the highest parts of upturned, empty, lamellibranch shells. Soon afterwards the body regions of the adult become recognisable.

Communicated by J. H. S. Blaxter, Oban