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J Morphol. 2007 Jun;268(6):518-28.

Metamorphosis of cinctoblastula larvae (Homoscleromorpha, porifera).

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Department of Embryology, Biological Faculty, St Petersburg State University, St Petersburg 199034, Russia.


The metamorphosis of the cinctoblastula of Homoscleromorpha is studied in five species belonging to three genera. The different steps of metamorphosis are similar in all species. The metamorphosis occurs by the invagination and involution of either the anterior epithelium or the posterior epithelium of the larva. During metamorphosis, morphogenetic polymorphism was observed, which has an individual character and does not depend on either external or species specific factors. In the rhagon, the development of the aquiferous system occurs only by epithelial morphogenesis and subsequent differentiation of cells. Mesohylar cells derive from flagellated cells after ingression. The formation of pinacoderm and choanoderm occurs by the differentiation of the larval flagellated epithelium. This is possibly due to the conservation of cell junctions in the external surface of the larval flagellated cells and of the basement membrane in their internal surface. The main difference in homoscleromorph metamorphosis compared with Demospongiae is the persistence of the flagellated epithelium throughout this process and even in the adult since exo- and endopinacoderm remain flagellated. The antero-posterior axis of the larva corresponds to the baso-apical axis of the adult in Homoscleromorpha.

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