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Lesson 1: Beginnings

Sponges demonstrate the cellular level of organization. Also notice the resemblance between the collared choanoflagellate cells in the top drawing, and the collar cells in the sponge. Sponges can reproduce asexually by budding or from fragments or sexually. Sponges produce eggs and sperm that are released into a central cavity of the sponge, in which the zygote develops into a ciliated larva.

The larval stage is able to move about while the adult is stationary.

Figure 8. Top: Image of some calcareous vase sponges belonging to the genus Scypha. Bottom: Some sponges photographed by the author at Turniff Island, Belize. Image Copyright Michael J. Farabee, all rights reserved. The fossil record of sponges has been at times quite good. The oldest sponges date from the precambrian. One early example of fossil sponges are the archaeocyathids, one of the first reef-building animals.

Epub English Online: Animal Collage, Intermediate 1

Archaeocyathids evolved and went extinct before then end of the Cambrian Period. Cladistic analysis by J. Reitner in suggests archaeocyathids are properly placed in the Phylum Porifera instead of having their own phylum. Living sponges fall into three groups: the calcareous an example of which is shown in Figure 9 , glass, and demosponges, based on the chemical composition of spicules. The phylum Cnidaria contains 10, species characterized by adult bodies having radial symmetry.

Cnidarians are aquatic, mostly all marine. The cnidarian body has only the ectoderm and endoderm tissue layers, making this group diploblastic. Members of this phylum all have stinging cells that eject a barbed thread and possibly a toxin. Only cnidaria have these cnidocytes shown in Figure 9 , a specialized cell that contains a nematocyst, a fluid-filled capsule containing a long, spirally coiled hollow thread.

When the trigger of the cnidocyte is touched, the nematocyst is discharged. Some threads merely trap a prey or predator, while others have spines that penetrate and inject paralyzing toxins. These toxins make some jellyfish and a related group the box jellies among the most poisonous of animals.

Figure 9. These stinging cells allow the animal to capture small prey, as well as offer some defense if attacked. Cnidarians have two body forms that may occur: a mobile medusa and a sessile fancy term for not mobile polyp , both of which are shown in Figure Both body forms have tentacles arranged around an opening into the two-layered sac-like body. The inner tissue layer derived from endoderm secretes digestive juices into the gastrovascular cavity, which digests food and circulates nutrients doing the job our circulatory AND digestive systems do.

Muscle fibers occur at the base of the epidermal and gastrodermal cells, making this the first group of muscled animals. Nerve cells located below epidermis near the mesoglea interconnect and form a nerve net throughout the body.

Cnidarians have both muscle fibers and nerve fibers, making these animals capable of directional movement. The nerve net allows transmission of messages in more than one direction, possibly an advantage in a radially symmetrical animal, while contraction of muscle fibers under control of the nerve fibers allows for movement.

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While they have a nerve net, brains are not present. Figure Body types in a typical cnidarian. Cells are organized into tissues. The adult in most species of cnidarian is radially symmetrical. The typical cnidarian life cycle involves both sexual and asexual reproduction. A bilaterally symmetrical larva known as a planula shown in Figure 11 , develops from a zygote. The planula moves around and eventually settles down in an appropriate location and grows into the adult polyp. The polyp grows and may eventually reproduce asexually to form medusae.

Each medusa develops gonads and uses meiosis to form gametes. Life cycle of a typical cnidarian. In essence we see an "alternation of generations" between the sessile polyp phase and the mobile medusa phase.


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However, unlike plants, both phases are diploid. The phylum Cnidaria is usually subdivided into three taxonomic classes : class Anthozoa, class Hydrozoa, and class Schyphozoa. Sea anemones, shown in Figure 12, are solitary polyps mm in height and mm in diameter or larger. They are often brightly colored and look like flowers specifically anemones on the seafloor.

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You might remember them from the film Finding Nemo. The anemone's thick, heavy body rests on a pedal disk and supports an upward-turned mouth surrounded by hollow tentacles. Sea anemones feed on various invertebrates and fish. They attach to a variety of substrates, or may be mutualistic with hermit crabs, living attached to crab's shell. Anatomy of a polyp. These animals have an almost plant-like appearance, being anchored in place.

Corals may be solitary but most today are colonial. The majority of corals occur in warm shallow waters; the accumulation of their calcium-carbonate remains builds reefs. Some corals occur in colder waters, so the mere presence of coral does not necessarily indicate a tropical environment.

Modern scleractinian coral, dominant reef-builders since the Triassic period some million years ago , have symbiotic photosynthetic dinoflagellates living within the coral body. These dinoflagellates are in the genus Symbiodinium , and are termed collectively zooxanthellae, shown in Figure 13a. Figure 13b illustrates several living coral tyypes. Coral polyps with zooxanthellae brown dinoflagellates living symbiotically within them.

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Two types of coral from Turniff Island, Belize. Brain coral, Long Cay, Belize. Figure b and c images copyright by Michael J. Farabee, all rights reserved; c. The polyp stage is dominant in members of this taxonomic class. The Portuguese man-of-war is a colony of polyps, with the original polyp becoming a gas-filled float. Other polyps specialize for feeding or reproduction.

Animals and Plants – Vocabulary Exercises

The Portuguese man-of-war can cause serious injury to swimmers since each tentacle in reality a string of individual organisms has numerous nematocysts.