Localization of digestion activities in polyps ofNausithoe planulophora andThecoscyphus zibrowii (Coronatae, Scyphozoa, Cnidaria)

  • Dirk Bumann
  • Gerhard Jarms


Coronate polyps are unique among cnidarians in having a complete peridermal tube, a ring canal, and four radial canals or pores at their oral region. Moreover, most of these species possess tooth whorls that narrow the gastric cavity considerably. Using fluorescence-labeled prey, it was demonstrated that the ring canal is not involved in digestion or redistribution of nutrients but possibly serves as a hydrostatic flex point for the fast retraction of the tentacle crown into the exoskeleton. The tooth whorls considerably affect the localization of digestion activities by blocking the passage of large prey fragments. Hence, endocytosis in a coronate species with tooth whorls occurred around the uppermost tooth whorl whereas, in a species lacking tooth whorls endocytosis occurred at the basal end. To meet the high nutrient demands of the basal region, nutrients must be redistributed in the species with tooth whorls. The extra energy required for this redistribution could be an important disadvantage of tooth whorls.


Oral Region Gastric Cavity Basal Disk Digestion Activity Bright Field Micrograph 
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Copyright information

© Biologische Anstalt Helgoland 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Bumann
    • 1
  • Gerhard Jarms
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA
  2. 2.Zoologisches Institut und Zoologisches MuseumUniversität HamburgHamburgGermany

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