Skip to main content

A Muscular Double Helix in Gastrotricha

Buy Article:

$28.45 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Studies on the muscular system of gastrotrichs revealed a new muscle arrangement. Helicoidal muscles, in right- and left-hand spirals, were found in all 9 species of Gastrotricha examined. The macrodasyidans Acanthodasys aculeatus, Tetranchyroderma papii and Thaumastoderma heideri had helicoidal muscles along the entire digestive tract (pharynx and intestine), whereas Macrodasys caudatus and Turbanella cornuta displayed helicoidal muscles mainly along the pharynx. Representatives of the order Chaetonotida, Chaetonotus aculifer, Draculiciteria tessalata, Lepidodermella squamata, and Xenotrichula intermedia, all had helicoidal muscles on the intestine, while pharyngeal helicoidal muscles were not observed in C. aculifer or L. squamata. Helicoidal muscles are the thinnest-diameter muscles in the gastrotrich body and generally surround splanchnic circular muscles and longitudinal bands. The proposed functions of helicoidal muscles include antagonization of radial dilations of the digestive tract during feeding, pressurization of the intestine and closure of the pharyngeal-intestinal valve in chaetonotidans, and prevention of intestinal kinking during changes in body shape. The presence of this unique muscle orientation may be a synapomorphy for Gastrotricha.

Keywords: F-actin; Helicoidal muscles; Meiofauna; Phalloidin

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Department of Zoology and Center for Marine Biology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, U.S.A

Publication date: 2001-05-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more