Ultrastructure of a novel eurytele nematocyst of Carybdea alata Reynaud (Cubozoa, Cnidaria)
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The ultrastructural characteristics of nematocysts from the cubozoan Carybdea alata Reynaud, 1830 (Hawaiian box jellyfish) were examined using light, scanning and transmission electron microscopy. We reclassified the predominant nematocyst in C. alata tentacles as a heterotrichous microbasic eurytele, based on spine, tubule and capsule measurements. These nematocysts exhibited a prominent and singular stylet, herein referred to as the lancet. Discharged nematocysts from fixed tentacle preparations displayed the following structures: a smooth shaft base, lamellae, a hemicircumferential fissure demarking the proximal end of a stratified lancet, and a gradually tapering tubule densely covered with large triangularly shaped spines. The lancet remained partially adjoined to the shaft base in a hinge-like fashion in rapidly fixed, whole-tentacle preparations. In contrast, this structure was not observed in discharged nematocyst preparations which involved multiple transfer steps prior to fixation. Various approaches were designed to detect this structure in the absence of fixative. Detached lancets were located in proximity to discharged tubules in undisturbed coverslip preparations of fresh tentacles. In addition, examination of embedded nematocysts from fresh tentacles laid on polyacrylamide gels revealed still-attached lancets. To examine the function of this structure in prey capture, Artemia sp. laden tentacles were prepared for scanning electron microscopy. While carapace exteriors exhibited structures proximal to the lancet, i.e., the nematocyst capsule and shaft base, neither tubule nor lancet structures were visible. Taken together, the morphological data suggested a series of events involved in the discharge of a novel eurytele from C. alata.
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