The ultrastructure of the tentacles was studied in the sipunculid worm Thysanocardia nigra. Flexible digitate tentacles are arranged into the dorsal and ventral tentacular crowns at the anterior end of the introvert of Th. nigra. The tentacle bears oral, lateral, and aboral rows of cilia; on the oral side, there is a longitudinal groove. Each tentacle contains two oral tentacular canals and an aboral tentacular canal. The oral side of the tentacle is covered by a simple columnar epithelium, which contains large glandular cells that secrete their products onto the apical surface of the epithelium. The lateral and aboral epithelia are composed of cuboidal and flattened cells. The tentacular canals are lined with a flattened coelomic epithelium that consists of podocytes with their processes and multiciliated cells. The tentacular canals are continuous with the radial coelomic canals of the head and constitute the terminal parts of the tentacular coelom, which shows a highly complex morphology. Five tentacular nerves and circular and longitudinal muscle bands lie in the connective tissue of the tentacle wall. Similarities and differences in the tentacle morphology between Th. nigra and other sipunculan species are discussed.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 30, 2005
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