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J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1978 Oct;47:85-96.

Induced segmental reorganization in sabellid worms.


Processes of regeneration and reorganization are analyzed in two sabellid polychaetes. Abdominal pieces of Branchiomma nigromaculata, during head regeneration, ordinarily reorganize only a fraction of the number of segments typical of the thorax. In pieces transected in the vertical plane, but obliquely with regard to the main axis of the worm, the extent of reorganization is greatly enhanced. The same number of segments transform on the right and left sides, the surviving damaged segments transforming on one side and a corresponding number of more posterior, undamaged segments transforming on the other. Reorganization is shown, in abdominal pieces of Sabella melanostigma, to involve destruction and inversed dorso-ventral reconstitution of all parapodial structures in the segments affected, the conversion of intestine to thoracic stomach, and the invasion of previously abdominal segments by a pair of large nephridia which grow posteriorly after being formed in the basal portion of the head blastema. All three events exhibit a time-graded character, staring soonest at the anterior end and progressively later posteriorly, and apparently independently of one another. Abdominal type segments are formed only from the anterior region of the caudal, prepygidal zone of growth, successively, never by transformation. The dorso-ventrality of abdominal segments is the inverse of the thoracic, with the antero-posterior polarity unchanged, in all circumstances. Only during posterior regeneration from thoracic segments are thoracic segments produced from the posterior zone of growth, but only two or three are thus formed, the zone of growth then changing to the production of abdominal segments. It is concluded that the feature of sabellid-serpulid organization is the complete inversion of the dorso-ventrality of the posterior zone of growth as the result of emancipation from the generally dominating dorsal field emanating from the anterior end.

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