- Simple tentaculocyst of Rlzopaloocellus be on the nema velatum.
This sicula, which had originally the shape of a hollow cone, is formed of two portions or regions - an upper and smaller (apical or embryonic) portion, marked by delicate longitudinal lines, and having a fine tabular thread (the nema) proceeding from its apex; and a lower (thecal or apertural) portion, marked by transverse lines of growth and widening in the direction of the mouth, the lip or apertural margin of which forms the broad end of the sicula.
In all these families the polypary originates as in Monograptus from a nema-bearing sicula, which invariably opens downwards and gives off only a single bud, such branching as may take place occurring at subsequent stages in the growth of the polypary.
In some species young examples have been met with in which the nema ends above in a small membranous disk, which has been interpreted as an organ of attachment to the underside of floating bodies, probably sea weeds, from which the young polypary hung suspended.
To four and these coalesce by their dorsal walls along the line of the nema, and the sicula becomes embedded in the base of the polypary.
In the family of the Diplograptidae the branches are reduced to two; these also coalesce similarly by their dorsal walls, and the polypary thus becomes biserial (diprionidian), and the line of the nema is taken by a long axial tube-like structure, the nemacaulus or virgular tube.
An exception, however,, is constituted by the comprehensive genus Dictyonema, which embraces species composed of a large number of divergent and sub-parallel branches, united by transverse dissepiments into a symmetrical cone-like or funnel-shaped polypary, and includes some forms (Dictyograptus) which originate from a nema-bearing sicula and have been claimed as belonging to the Graptoloidea.
The Graptoloidea have also been regarded by some as benthonic organisms. A more prevalent view, however, is that the majority were pseudo-planktonic or drifting colonies, hanging from the underside of floating seaweeds; their polyparies being each .suspended by the nema in the earliest stages of growth, and, in later stages, some by the nemacaulus, while others became adherent above by means of a central disk or by parts of their dorsal walls.