Marine Biology

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 27-33

First online:

Structure of the mucous feeding filter of Chaetopterus variopedatus (Polychaeta)

  • P. R. FloodAffiliated withInstitute of Anatomy, University of Bergen
  • , A. Fiala-MédioniAffiliated withLaboratoire Arago, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie

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The mucous feeding filter of Chaetopterus variopedatus (Renier and Clapérede) was collected as curled-up mucus and food balls ready for ingestion, and as stretched out mucus films on copper grids, introduced in the mucus bag of actively feeding individuals. By light-, scanning electron-and transmission electron microscopy the mucus film was found to consist of two crossing arrays of parallel filaments with a spacing of 0.76±0.96 μm in one direction and 0.46±0.12 μm (mean±SD) in the other. This film should effectively retain particles with a diameter down to about 0.5 μm, and let through most smaller particles. The possibility of affinity binding to hydrated mucous filaments, even at the molecular level, is also discussed.