2, nch.), growing forwards in the septum between the proboscis-cavity and the collar-cavities, and supported dorsally by the median mesentery of the collar, is the representative of the so-called notochord or stomochord of Balanoglossus; and if the view that this organ is really a notochord is well founded, it may be regarded as the homologue of the anterior end of the Vertebrate notochord.
Not only is the coelom thus subdivided, but the enteron (gut, alimentary canal, digestive tube) itself shows indications of three main subsections in continuity with one another: - (I) proboscis-gut (Eicheldarm, stomochord, vide infra); (2) collar-gut (buccal cavity, throat); (3) truncal gut extending from the collar to the vent.
In some species (Spengelidae) there is a long capillary vermiform extension of the stomochord in front.
The nuchal skeleton is a non-cellular laminated thickening of basement-membrane underlying that portion of the stomochord which lies between the above-mentioned pouches and the orifice into the throat.
At the point where the stomochord opens into the buccal cavity the nuchal skeleton bifurcates, and the two cornua thus produced pass obliquely backwards and downwards embedded in the wall of the throat, often giving rise to projecting ridges that bound a dorsal groove of the collar-gut which is in continuity with the wall of the stomochord (fig.
It seems likely that the coelomic pore-canals were originally excretory organs, but in the existing Enteropneusta the pore-canals (especially the collar canals) have, as we have seen, acquired new functions or become vestigial, and the function of excretion is now mainly accomplished by a structure peculiar to the Enteropneusta called the glomerulus, a vascular complex placed on either side of the anterior portion of the stomochord, projecting into the proboscis-coelom.
The blood, which is a non-corpuscular fluid, is propelled forwards by the contractile dorsal vessel and collected into the central bloodsinus; this lies over the stomochord, and is surrounded on three sides by a closed vesicle, with contractile walls, called the pericardium (Herzblase).