Functional morphology of muscles in Tetranchyroderma papii (Gastrotricha)
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Movement in gastrotrichs is powered by an interaction of ventral cilia and muscles. In interstitial gastrotrichs, movement among sand grains often requires the additional use of adhesive tubules that allow for behaviors such as escape responses and changes in body position. In this study, we describe orientations and possible mechanical actions of muscles during locomotion in the gastrotrich, Tetranchyroderma papii (Macrodasyida). Fluorescently labeled phalloidin was used to stain F-actin of muscles and visualize muscle patterns. Muscles are arranged in circular, longitudinal, and helicoidal orientations. Circular muscles were in the form of discreet rings around the pharynx and intestine, and contribute to the structure of the oral hood. Longitudinal muscles are largely concentrated on the ventral and ventrolateral sides of the body, where they aid in body flexion, including directional changes during ciliary swimming, body torsion, and escape responses. Helicoidal muscles, present as myocytes in left- and right-hand orientations, lie external of the circular bands and some of the longitudinal bands, and are hypothesized to counteract dilations of the pharynx and intestine during feeding. Extraordinary muscle orientations with undetermined functions include a pair of crossover muscles and a single semicircular muscle band at the caudal end.
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