The morphology of the respiratory trees in the holothurians Apostichopus japonicus and Cucumaria japonica was studied using histochemical and electron microscopic techniques. The epithelium of the respiratory tree cavity in A. japonicus consists of columnar cells about 17–20 μm high. In C. japonica, this epithelium is composed of two cell types: bulbous cells embedded in the connective tissue layer and secretory cells; cells are 1–12 μm high. A characteristic feature of cells of the respiratory tree cavity epithelium in these species is the presence of numerous phagosomes and coated vesicles in the apical cytoplasm. The cell surface has many microvilli and a single cilium. Cells of the coelomic epithelium contain vacuoles in the apical part and myofibrils in the basal region; the thickness of this epithelium in A. japonicus and C. japonica is 9–16 and 10–30 μm, respectively. Based on the different structure of the respiratory trees and the absence of hemocytes in A. japonicus, it is suggested that the holothurian species studied have different routes of oxygen transport from the environment to the internal organs.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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