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Functional morphology of the introvert and digestive system of Myzostoma cirriferum (Myzostomida)
Eeckhaut, I.; Dochy, B.; Jangoux, M. (1995). Functional morphology of the introvert and digestive system of Myzostoma cirriferum (Myzostomida). Acta Zool. (Stockh.) 76(4): 307-315.
In: Acta Zoologica (Stockholm). Svenska Bokfoerlaget: Stockholm. ISSN 0001-7272; e-ISSN 1463-6395, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Eeckhaut, I., more
  • Dochy, B.
  • Jangoux, M., more

    Myzostoma cirriferum feeds by diverting food particles carried by the ambulacral grooves of its comatulid host Antedon bifida. When searching for food, the myzostome uses its protrusible introvert to fulfil two major functions: sensory perception and the capture of food particles. The digestive system is composed of four parts, viz. a pharynx, that is contained within the introvert, a stomach, a series of paired caeca and an intestine that lie in the myzostome's trunk. The pharynx is supplied with a thick muscle which, thanks to peristaltic movements, carries food particles from the mouth to the stomach. Both stomach and caecal cells are able to absorb dissolved nutriments and to store lipids, whereas intestinal cells are only capable of absorption. Due to the beating of their cilia, stomach cells also carry food particles into the caecal lumen, where they are subjected to endocytosis and intracellular digestion by caecal cells. Undigested food fragments eventually gather in a very large, apical vacuole, and the cell apices containing vacuoles are eliminated into the caecal lumen by an apocrinal process. Detached cell apices reach the stomach, where they are embedded in a matrix, together forming a spindle-shaped faecal mass that is expelled through the postero-ventral anus. The observed digestive process—entailing the regular elimination of the apical part of the caecal digestive cells—appears to be unique among the Spiralia.

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