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Tissue Cell. 2007 Jun;39(3):171-7. Epub 2007 Apr 16.

Ultrastructural aspects of the 'statocyst' of Xenoturbella (Deuterostomia) cast doubt on its function as a georeceptor.

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Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 16, S-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.


The "statocyst" in the enigmatic worm Xenoturbella is a structure containing motile flagellated cells. It is situated inside the subepidermal membrane complex (between epidermis and muscular layers) in the anterior end of the body. The motile cells contain a lipophilic refractile body ("statolith"), and a series of vesicles from small dense core vesicles presumably formed from the refractile body to large vesicles with dense aggregates of filamentous tubules that become exocytized through secretion. It is unlikely that the statocyst is a georeceptor (true statocyst); maybe it has an endocrine function.

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