Ultrastructure of nuchal organs in polychaetes (Annelida) - New results and review
|ADULT NUCHAL; Anatomy & Morphology; ANTERIOR END; DORVILLEIDAE ANNELIDA; HOMOLOGS; NERVOUS-SYSTEM; OLIGOCHAETA; PHOTORECEPTORS; PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSIS; PYGOSPIO-ELEGANS POLYCHAETA; VENTRAL PHARYNGEAL ORGANS; Zoology
Nuchal organs are epidermal sensory structures present in most polychaetes. They are situated at the posterior edge of the prostomium and may extend posteriorly onto the peristomium. Although there is considerable external variation, they all consist of ciliated supporting cells, bipolar primary sensory cells and retractor muscles. They are innervated directly from the brain by paired nerves. The sensory cells are usually monociliated; their sensory processes lie in subcuticular spaces, the olfactory chambers. Structural variability is to be observed in the location of the sensory cells, the course of the nuchal nerve, position of nuchal ganglia as well as in cytological features of sensory and supporting cells. These differences provide useful characters for phylogenetic considerations to establish supraspecific taxa within the phylogenetic system of the Annelida. Special emphasis is laid on the problem of whether the nuchal organs represent an autapomorphy of the Polychaeta or the Annelida and thus whether the lack of nuchal organs in Clitellata is primary or secondary. As is discussed, the probability of a loss of the nuchal organs in Clitellata is higher, which favours the second hypothesis: that nuchal organs are part of the ground pattern of the Annelida and very likely are an autapomorphy of this group. (C) 1997 The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
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