, Volume 234, Issue 1, pp 193-200

Electron microscopy of extracellular materials during the development of a sea star, Patiria miniata (Echinodermata: Asteroidea)

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The fine structure of conspicuous extracellular materials during the life history of a sea star (Patiria miniata) is described. The outer surface of the developing sea star is covered by two morphologically different cuticles that appear sequentially during ontogeny. The primary cuticle, which is about 120 nm thick and two-layered, is present from mid-blastula through the end of the larval stage. The secondary cuticle, which is about 1 μm thick and three-layered, first appears on the epidermis of the rudiment region of the larva and, after metamorphosis, covers the entire epidermis of the juvenile and adult stages. During ontogeny, there are only two conspicuous gut cuticles: the first lines the newly invaginated archenteron at the start of the gastrula stage, and the second lines the esophagus during the larval stage. A blastocoelic basal lamina first appears at mid-blastula and persists as subectodermal and subendodermal basal laminae. Ruthenium red-positive granules are detectable between the lateral surfaces of adjacent ectodermal cells during part of the gastrula stage; this transient intercellular material may possibly aid in lateral adhesion between cells.

Supported in part by USPHS Grant No. R-07011 (1980–1981). The manuscript was critically read by LZ Holland and CA LaHaye