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The Structure and Innervation of the Locomotor Muscles of Salps (Tunicata: Thaliacea)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2009

Q. Bone
Affiliation:
The Plymouth Laboratory
K. P. Ryan
Affiliation:
The Plymouth Laboratory

Extract

Salps swim by rhythmic contraction of the hoop-like bands of muscle which form a series of incomplete annuli along the body. The histology of these muscle bands was briefly examined by various early workers, such as Dolley (1887) and Knoll (1895), but was little known until Fedele (1932,1938) published the results of his careful investigations of a variety of species. His observations demonstrated the complexity and peculiarity of the muscle fibres forming the bands, which, as he pointed out, are in some respects comparable to those of arthropods in the arrangement of the sarcomeres. In all the species he examined, Fedele found that the muscle fibres were essentially similar in organization: a central granular core containing large nuclei was surrounded on the free borders of the fibre by a layer of myofibrils. However, this general arrangement differed in detail between different species, and Fedele recognized five types of muscle fibre, distinguishing these types upon such criteria as the fibrillar arrangement, and the disposition of the nuclei. In an earlier paper (Fedele, 1925) he had also given very clear figures of the manner in which these muscle fibres were innervated. He found that dis-crete motor end-formations occurred on the surface of the muscle bands, and that these were frequently intercalary, unlike the motor terminations of vertebrates.

Fedele's work was based upon very careful observation of living and fixed material at the light microscope level; in the present note, we extend his observations by describing the ultrastructure of these curious protochordate muscle fibres.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 1973

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