The cnidoblasts are the mother-cells of the nematocysts, each cell producing one nematocyst in its interior.
A third point of dispute is whether the nematocysts ar:e formed in situ, or whether the cnidoblasts migrate with them to the region where they are most needed; the fact that in Hydra, for example, there are no interstitial cells in the tentacles, where nematocysts are very abundant, is certainly in favour of the view that the cnidoblasts migrate on to the tentacles from the body, and that like the genital cells the cnidoblasts are wandering cells.
- Diagrams to show the structure of Nematocysts and their mode of working.
The nematocysts of the ectoderm may be grouped to form batteries on the tentacles, umbrellar margin and oral lappets.
In places the nematocysts may be crowded so thickly as to form a tough, supporting, " chondral " tissue, resembling cartilage, chiefly developed at the margin of the umbrella and forming streaks or bars supporting the tentacles (" Tentakelspangen," peronia) or the tentaculocysts (" Gehorspangen," otoporpae).
The fact already noted that the species of Hydra can be distinguished by the characters of their nematocysts is a point of great interest.
In each species, two or three kinds of nematocysts occur, some large, some small, and for specific identification the nematocysts must be studied collectively in each species.
It is quite possible that the characters of the nematocysts might afford data as useful to the systematist in this group as do the spicules of sponges, for instance.
They may bear accessory filaments or tentilla (f'), covered thickly with batteries of nematocysts, to which these organisms owe their great powers of -offence and defence.
Grosvenor these nematocysts are derived from the hydroids on which the animals feed.
This aggressive character has a different aspect in several genera which are destitute of a central stylet, but in which the surface that is turned outwards upon eversion of the proboscis is largely pro- P. vided with nematocysts, sending the urticating rods of different sizes in all directions.
To these three characters the Hydrozoa add a fourth which is distinctive of the subdivision of the Coelenterata termed the Cnidaria; that is to say, they always possess peculiar stinging organs known as nettle-cells, or nematocysts (Cnidae), each produced in a cell forming an integral part of the animal's tissues.
The grounds for this view are the radial symmetry of several Polyclads and the supposed origin of gonads and excretory flame-cells from the walls of gut, the occurrence of nematocysts in Anonymus, one of the most radially constructed Polyclads, and lastly the presence of two peculiar animals Ctenoplana and Coeloplana, which suggests a transition from Ctenophora to Polyclads.
By means of the stinging nettle-cells or nematocysts with which the tentacles are thickly covered, living organisms of various kinds are firmly held and at the same time paralysed or killed, and by means of longitudinal muscular fibrils formed from the cells of the ectoderm the tentacles are contracted and convey the food to the mouth.
The lastnamed are specially numerous on the tentacles and on some other regions of the body, and produce the well-known "thread cells," or nematocysts, so characteristic of the Coe lentera.