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Larval Development in the Homoscleromorpha (Porifera, Demospongiae)

Nicole Boury-Esnault, Alexander Ereskovsky, Chantal Bézac and Daria Tokina
Invertebrate Biology
Vol. 122, No. 3 (Summer, 2003), pp. 187-202
Published by: Wiley on behalf of American Microscopical Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3227198
Page Count: 16
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Larval Development in the Homoscleromorpha (Porifera, Demospongiae)
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Abstract

Embryonic development from coeloblastula to fully developed larva was investigated in 8 Mediterranean homoscleromorph species: Oscarella lobularis, O. tuberculata, O. microlobata, O. imperialis, Plakina trilopha, P. jani, Corticium candelabrum, and Pseudocorticium jarrei. Morphogenesis of the larva is similar in all these species; however, cell proliferation is more active in species of Oscarella than in Plakina and C. candelabrum. The result of cell division is a wrinkled, flagellated larva, called a cinctoblastula. It is composed of a columnar epithelium of polarized, monoflagellated cells among which are scattered a few non-flagellated ovoid cells. The central cavity always contains symbiotic bacteria. Maternal cells are also present in O. lobularis, O. imperialis, and P. jarrei. In the fully developed larva, cell shape and dimensions are constant for each species. The cells of the anterior pole have large vacuoles with heterogeneous material; those of the postero-lateral zone have an intranuclear paracrystalline inclusion; and the flagellated cells of the posterior pole have large osmiophilic inclusions. Intercellular junctions join the apical parts of the cells, beneath which are other specialized cell junctions. A basement membrane underlying the flagellated cells lines the larval cavity. This is the first observation of a basement membrane in a poriferan larva. The basal apparatus of flagellated cells is characterized by an accessory centriole located exactly beneath the basal body. The single basal rootlet is cross striated. The presence of a basement membrane and a true epithelium in the larva of Homoscleromorpha-unique among poriferan clades and shared with Eumetazoa-suggests that Demospongiae could be paraphyletic.

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