, Volume 105, Issue 6, pp 367–374 | Cite as

The development of Spongilla lacustris from the oocyte to the free larva (Porifera, Spongillidae)

  • Uwe Saller
  • Norbert Weissenfels


During June and July oocytes appear in well-developed specimens of Spongilla lacustris. These differentiate from archeocytes, and during the first growth phase they reach a diameter of ca. 50 μm. At this time each oocyte is enclosed in a single-layered follicle epithelium, which is retained until emergence of the larva.

In the second phase the oocytes grow to about 220 μm by phagocytosis of trophocytes. When phagocytosis has come to an end, there is a distinct layering of the yolk material that has formed within the cytoplasm of the oocyte. Small yolk granules surround the centrally located nucleus, and peripheral to these is a layer of larger spheres of yolk.

Cleavage is totally equal to unequal. Some blastomeres are binucleate. In the 15-cell staged micro- and macromeres appear.

The embryo consists of uniform cells with high yolk content; at the periphery they are slightly flattened rather than spherical. In this stage of development the first scleroblasts appear.

Further development to the young larva is marked by the appearance of a cavity (the larval cavity) lined with pinacocytes. The cavity expands to occupy about half the volume of the larva at emergence, becoming hemispheric in shape. The cells at the periphery of the larva form a columnar, single-layered, multiseriate ciliated epithelium with teardrop-shaped nuclei.

The emerging larva breaks through its follicle and the wall of the excurrent canal system; occasionally larvae can be found in the canals. At this time the larva has developed a few flagellated chambers, which may already be integrated into the primordia of the excurrent canal system. The previously discernible scleroblasts have now formed isolated spicules, which may adhere to form spicule-spongin complexes.


Growth Phase Developmental Biology Canal System Distinct Layering Large Sphere 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uwe Saller
    • 1
  • Norbert Weissenfels
    • 1
  1. 1.Entwicklungsgeschichtliche Abteilung des Zoologischen Instituts der Universität BonnBonn 1Federal Republic of Germany

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