Mucronalia, foot reduced, but still operculate, eyes present, animal fixed by its very long proboscis which is deeply buried in the tissues of an Echinoderm, no pseudopallium.
Marchal points out the analogy of this phenomenon to the artificial polyembryony that has been induced in Echinoderm and other eggs by separating the blastomeres, and suggests that the abundant food-supply afforded by the host-larva is favourable for this multiplication of embryos, which may be, in the first instance, incited by the abnormal osmotic pressure on the egg.
Eschscholtz at the Marshall Islands in 1825, Balanoglossus was described as a worm-like animal belonging to the Echinoderm order of Holothurians or sea-cucumbers.
This creature displays an almost unexampled frequency and extent of distribution in the whole North Sea, in the western parts of the Baltic, near the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and the English coasts, so that it may be regarded as a characteristic North Sea echinoderm form.
The problem of the interrelations of the classes will thus be reduced to its simplest terms, and even questions as to the nature of the primitive Echinoderm and its affinity to the ancestors of other phyla may become more than exercises for the ingenuity of youth.
The theory has been vigorously opposed, notably by Semon (op. cit.), who saw in the holothurians a nearer approach to the ancestral form than was furnished by any calyculate echinoderm, and by the Sarasins, who derived the echinoids from the holothurians through forms with flexible tests (Echinothuridae, which, however, are now known to be specialized in this respect).
- The rejection of the calycinal and Pentactaea theories need not scatter our conceptions of Echinoderm structure back into the chaos from which they seemed to have emerged.
Such characters are found in any primitive, sedentary group. More peculiarly Echinoderm features, in which the Pelmatozoan nature is manifest, are the enclosing of the viscera in a calcified and plated theca, for protection against those enemies from which a fixed animal cannot flee; the development, at the aboral pole of this theca, of a motor nerve-centre giving off branches to the stroma connecting the various plates of the theca and of its brachial, anal, and columnar extensions, and thus coordinating the movements of the whole skeleton; the absence of suckers from the podia, which, when present, are respiratory, not locomotor, in function.
Known Echinoderms show the following features, imagined to be due to an ancestral pelmatozoic stage :- Increase in the coelomic cavities of the left side, and atrophy of those on the right; the dextral coil of the gut, recognizable in all classes, though often obscured; an incomplete secondary bilateralism about the plane including the main axis and the water-pore or its successor, the madreporite, often obscured by one or other of various tertiary bilateralisms; the change of the hydrocoel into a circumoral, arcuate or ring canal; development through a freeswimming, bilaterally symmetrical, ciliated larva, of which in many cases only a portion is transformed into the adult Echinoderm (where care of the brood has secondarily arisen, this larva is not developed).
Carpenter, "Notes on Echinoderm Morphology," Quart.