Online Encyclopedia

MESOZOA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 188 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MESOZOA. Van Beneden i gave this name to a small group of minute and parasitic animals which he regarded as inter- mediate between the Protozoa and the Meta- zoa. The Mesozoa com- prise two classes: (i) the Rhombozoa, which are found only in the kidneys of Cephalopods, and(2)the Orthonectida, which infest specimens of Ophiurids, Poly- chaets,Nernertines,Tur- bellaria and possibly other groups. Class I. RHOMBOZOA (E.vanBeneden).—These animals consist' of a central cell from which certain reproductive cells arise, enclosed in a single layer of flattened and for the most part ciliated cells; some of them are modified at the anterior end and form the polar cap. The Rhombozoa comprises two orders : (a) Dicyemida, ciliated vermiform creatures whose polar cap has 8 or 9 cells arranged in two rows (Dicyema, Koll., Dicyemennea, Whitm.) ; (b)Heterocyemida, non-ciliated animals with no polar (From Cambridge Natural History, vol. ii. "Worms, cap, but whose anterior &c.," by permission of Macmillan & Co. Ltd. After ectodermal cells contain Gamble.) refringent bodies and A. Full-grown Rhombogen with in ocyema, v. Ben. in Octopus fusoriform embryos (emb). vulg¢ris; Microcyema in g. Part of endoderm cell where forma- Sepiao8icin¢lis). Unlike tion of the embryos is actively proceeding. the Dicyemida, which are n. ect. Nucleus of ectoderm cell. fixed in the renal cells of n. end. Nucleus of endoderm cell. their host by their polar p." Calotte:" cap, the Heterocyemida B. Developing infusoriform embryo. are free. The number of C. One fully developed. ectoderm cells apart from D. " Calotte " of nine cells, the polar cap is few, some fourteen to twenty-two. i Bull. Ac. Belgique (1876), p. 35. The central cell is formed by the layer of the first twoblastomeres, and remains quiescent until surrounded by the micromeres or products of division of the smaller blastomere. It then divides unequally, and of the two cells thus formed the larger repeats the process. Each of the two small cells are now called ' primary germ cells," and they enter into and lie inside the large central cell. The primary germ cells divide until there are eight of them all lying within the axial cell. At this stage the future of the parasite may take one of two directions. Following one path, the animal (now called a " Nematogen ") gives rise by the segmentation of its primary germ cells to vermiform larvae which, though smaller, are but replicas of the parent form. Following the other path, the animal (now termed a " Rhombogen ") gives origin to a number of " infusoriform larvae," several of these arising from each primary germ-cell. The vermiform larvae leave their Nematogen parent and swimming through the renal fluid attach themselves to the renal cells. They never leave their host, and die in sea-water. The infusoriform larvae have a very complicated structure; they escape from the Rhombogen, and, unlike the vermiform larvae they can live in sea-water. They possibly serve to infect new hosts. Some authorities look upon these infusoriform larvae as males, and consider that they fertilize some of the Nematogens, (From Cambridge Natural History vol. ii., "Worms, &c.," by permission of Macmillan & Co. Ltd. Alter Julio.) Full grown male. T. ' Flattened form of female. 2. Cylindrical female. which then give rise to males again, whereas the females which produce the vermiform embryos arise from unfertilized vermiform larvae. After the infusoriform larvae have, left the parent's body, the, Rhombogen takes to producing vermiform offspring, and thus becomes a secondary Nematogen. Thus, if the above views be correct, a Rhombogen is aprotandrous hermaphrodite. E. Nerescheimer has recently described under the name of 'Lohmanella catenata an organism parasitic in Fritillaria which shows marked affinities with the Rhombozoa. The genus, Haplozoon: of which two species have been found in the worms "Travisia and Clymene byDogiel is classed as a new group of Mesozoa. Class II. ORTHONECTIDA (A. Giard).`---The Orthonectida contain animals with a central mass of eggs destined to form male and female reproductive cells surrounded, by a single layer of ciliated ectoderm cells arranged in regular rings which contain varying numbers'"be., rows of cells. Muscular fibrils occur between the outer and inner cells. The sexes are separate and unlike; and there are-tiro .kinds of females, cylindrical and flat. There are but two genera, Rhopalura and Staecharthrum, the latter found in a Polychaet. The male R. giardii lives in the body-cavity of Amphiura squamata, has six rings of ectodermal cells all ciliated except the second, 'whose cells contain 'refringent granules. The ectoderm encloses the testis, a mass of cells which have arisen from a single axial cell in the embryo. The female differs from the male in appearance, and in size it is larger. It occurs in two forms: (I) The cylindrical with 8 (or q) rows of ectoderm cells; here as in' the male the second ring is devoid of cilia: (2) The flat females are broader, 'uniformly.tiliated; and have rrot rings of ectoderm cells. The central mass of cells forms ova which are free in the cylindrical forms; they leave the mother through the dehiscing of the cells of the non-ciliated ring, are fertilized and develop parthenogenetically into females both flat and cylindrical. R. pelseneeri and S. giardi are said to be hermaphrodite. The parasites first make their appearance in a host in the form of a plasmodium comparable with the sporocyst of a Trematode. By the segregation of nuclei and some of the surrounding protoplasm; germ cells arise which develop into ciliated larvae and ultimately into males and females which only discharge their spermatozoa and ova when they reach sea-water. The product of the consequent fertilization is unknown; presumably it infects new hosts; entering them in the form of a nucleated plasmodium. The original idea that in the Rhombozoa and Orthonectida we had animals intermediate between the Protozoa and Metazoa is no longer widely held. The modern view is that the simplicity of their structure is secondary and not primary, and is correllated with their parasitic habit of life. They are probably derived from some Platyhelminthine ancestor and perhaps come nearer to the Trematoda than to any other group.
End of Article: MESOZOA
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