Sipunculid-like ocellar tubes in a polychaete, Fauveliopsis cf. adriatica (Annelida, Fauveliopsidae): implications for eye evolution
|CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM; eye; FLABELLIGERIDAE; Marine & Freshwater Biology; MORPHOLOGY; NEPHTYS; photoreceptor cell; polychaetes; POSITION; POSTERIOR LOBES; prostomium; SENSE-ORGANS; ULTRASTRUCTURE; Zoology
A retractable head region somewhat resembling the introvert of sipunculans is a characteristic feature of members of the annelid taxon Fauveliopsidae. The morphology of fauvelopsids is not well known, and additional data might help to resolve their relationships with other annelids and sipunculans. Ultrastructural investigations of the anterior end of adults of Fauveliopsis cf. adriatica revealed peculiar brain and sensory structures. From the neuropil of the brain, two pairs of lobes mainly composed of neuronal somata extend posteriorly into the peristomium and the following segment. The nuchal organs are embedded in the median pair of lobes, as are additional photoreceptor-like sensory structures, the ocellar tubes, which are found at the bases of epidermal follicles that extend deeply into the brain. The retractor muscles of the prostomium are attached to the apices of these follicles, which are lined by tendon and supportive cells. The lumen of each follicle is completely filled with cuticular material that forms a rod. Monociliary sensory cells are present all along the length of each follicle; their cilia extend into the cuticle, and are oriented parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tube. Basally, each follicle forms an ovoid extension that is devoid of cuticular material and densely filled with numerous sensory processes-microvilli and cilia-of bipolar sensory cells. The terminal end of the 40-mu m-deep follicle is formed by two conspicuous cells that contain numerous densely packed vesicles that resemble pigment granules. The ocellar tubes of fauveliopsids are strikingly similar to the ocular tubes of sipunculids. These similarities may reflect common ancestry or may represent convergent evolution; both alternatives are partially supported by previous morphological and molecular studies.
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