Marine Biology

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 27–33

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

  • P. R. Flood
  • A. Fiala-Médioni


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Aksiouk, T. S. and V. A. Svechnikov: Piston mechanism to repulse water in Chaetopterus variopedatus. (In Russian) Doklady Academii Nauk SSSR. 197 (3), 724–727 (1971)Google Scholar
  2. Barnes, R. D.: Tube-building and feeding in the chaetopterid polychaete, Spiochaetopterus oculatus. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 127, 397–412 (1964)Google Scholar
  3. Boyde, A., E. Bailey, S. J. Jones and A. Tamarin: Dimensional changes during specimen preparation for scanning electron microscopy. Scanning Electron Microscopy 1977, 1, 507–518 (1977)Google Scholar
  4. Brown, J. C.: Biomechanics of water-pumping by Chaetopterus variopedatus Renier. Skeletomusculature and kinematics. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 149, 136–150 (1975)Google Scholar
  5. Dales, R. P.: Some quantitative aspects of feeding in sabellid and serpulid fan worms. J. mar. biol. Ass. U. K. 36, 309–316 (1939)Google Scholar
  6. Enders, H. E.: A study of the life-history and habits of Chaetopterus variopedatus, Renier et Claperede. J. Morph. 20, 479–531 (1909)Google Scholar
  7. Fauchald, K. and P. A. Jummars: The diet of worms. A study of polychaete feeding guilds. Oceanogr. mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 17, 193–284 (1979)Google Scholar
  8. Flood, P. R.: Filter characteristics of appendicularian food catching nets. Experientia 34, 173–175 (1978)Google Scholar
  9. Flood, P. R.: On the ultrastructure of mucus. Biomed. Res. 2 Suppl. 49–53 (1981)Google Scholar
  10. Flood, P. R. and A. Fiala-Médioni: Filter characteristics of ascidian food trapping mucous films. Acta Zool. (Stockh.) 60, 271–272 (1979)Google Scholar
  11. Flood, P. R. and A. Fiala-Médioni: Ultrastructure and histochemistry of the food trapping mucous film in benthic filter feeders (Ascidians). Acta Zool (Stockh.) 62, 53–65 (1981)Google Scholar
  12. Johansen, B. V.: Negative staining, pp 84–98. In: Electron microscopy in medicine, vol. 1. Ed. by J. V. Johannessen. New York: McGraw Hill 1978Google Scholar
  13. Jørgensen, C. B.: Biology of suspension feeding, 375 pp. In: International series of monographs in pure and applied biology. Ed. G. A. Kerkut. Oxford: Pergamon 1966Google Scholar
  14. MacGinitie, G. E.: The method of feeding of Chaetopterus. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 77, 117–118 (1939)Google Scholar
  15. MacGinitie, G. E.: The size of the mesh openings in mucous feeding nets of marine animals. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 88, 107–111 (1945)Google Scholar
  16. MacGinitie, G. E. and N. MacGinitie: Natural history of marine animals, 473 pp. New York: McGraw Hill 1949Google Scholar
  17. Meyer, F. A. and A. Silberberg: Structure and function of mucus (with discussion) in respiratory tract mucus. Ciba Found. Symp. 54, 203–218 (1978)Google Scholar
  18. Mitchel, K.: Die Grundzüge der Theorie des Mikroskops, 382 pp. Stuttgart: Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft 1981Google Scholar
  19. Monniot, F.: Mise en évidence d'un filtre “micropore” naturel chez les Ascidiacea. C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris 289, 927–929 (1979a)Google Scholar
  20. Monniot, F.: Microfilters et ciliatures branchiales des ascidies littorales en microscopie electronique. Bull. Mus. natn. Hist. nat. Paris 4, ser. 1 sect. A, 843–859 (1979b)Google Scholar
  21. Reynolds, E. S.: The use of lead citrate at high pH as an electron opaque stain in electron microscopy. J. Cell Biol. 17, 208–212 (1963)Google Scholar
  22. Schneider, G. B.: The effect of preparative procedures for scanning electron microscopy on the size of isolated lymphocytes. Am. J. Anat. 146, 93–100 (1976)Google Scholar
  23. Wallace, B. J. and D. Malas: The fine structure of capture nets of larval Philoptomidae (Trichoptera) with special emphasis on Dolophilodes distinctus. Can. J. Zool. 54, 1788–1802 (1976)Google Scholar
  24. Wells, G. P. and R. P. Dales: Spontaneous activity patterns in animal behaviour: the irregation of the burrow in the polychaetes Chaetopterus variopedatus Renier and Nereis diversicolor. O. F. Muller. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 29, 661–680 (1951)Google Scholar
  25. Werner, B.: Das Prinzip des endlosen Schleimfilters beim Nahrungserwerb wirbelloser Meerestiere. Int. Rev. Hydrob. 44, 181–215 (1959)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. R. Flood
    • 1
  • A. Fiala-Médioni
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of AnatomyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Laboratoire AragoUniversite Pierre et Marie CurieBanyuls sur merFrance

Personalised recommendations