C. Labyrinthodonta, with simple biconcave vertebral disks, very slightly pierced by a remnant of the notochord and supporting the loosely articulated neural arch.
It has, in fact, become metamorphosed into a resistant supporting structure resembling in some respects the notochord of the true Chordata, but probably not directly comparable with the latter structure, being related to it solely by way of substitution.
As already stated, the notochord extends beyond the mouth to the tip of the rostrum.
In Asymmetron the caudal region is remarkable for the curious elongation of the notochord, which is produced far beyond the last of the myotomes.
First, its dorsal wall (which is grooved to form the hyperpharyngeal groove) is closely adherent to the sheath of the notochord; and secondly, the pharynx is attached through the intermediation of the primary bars.
- As has already been indicated, a solid subcylindrical elastic rod, the notochord, surrounded by a sheath of laminar connective tissue, the cordal sheath, lies above the alimentary canal in contact with its dorsal wall, and extends beyond it both in front and behind to the obtusely pointed extremities of the body.
This notochord represents the persistent primordial skeletal axis which, in the higher Craniata (though not so in the lower), gives way by substitution to the segmented vertebral column.
Immediately above the notochord there lies another FIG.
It is the central nervous system, and contains within itself the elements of the brain and spinal marrow of higher forms. The neurochord tapers towards its posterior end, where it is coextensive with the notochord, but ends abruptly in front, some distance behind the tip of the snout.
- anp, Anterior neural pore; be, rudiment of buccal skeleton; c, cilia; cb, ciliated band; cc, ciliated groove; cm, cilia at margin of mouth; gl, external opening of club-shaped gland; Hn, Hatschek's nephridium; lm, left metapleur; n, notochord; pp, praeoral pit; ps, primary gill-slits, I, 5, and 13; rm, right metapleur showing through.
- a, Atrium; al, alimentary canal; y blood-vessel; cv, cerebral vesicle; df, dorsal section of myocoel (= fin spaces); e, " eyespot"; end, endostyle; gl, club-shaped gland; lm, edge of left metapleur; m, lower edge of mouth; n, notochord; nt, pigmented nerve tube; ps, primary gill-slits, I, 9, and 14; rc, renal cells on atrial floor; rm, edge of right metapleur; so, sense organ opening into praeoral pit; ss, thickenings, the rudiments of the row of secondary gill-slits.
(Adapted from Hatschek.) pc, Praechordal head-cavity of embryo; cc, collar-cavity (first somite); my, mesodermic somites (myocoelomic or archenteric pouches); ch, notochord with the neural tube (neurochord) lying upon it; np, anterior neuropore; ne, position of posterior neurenteric canal.
Microsauria, nearest the reptiles, with persistent notochord completely surrounded by constricted cylinders on which the neural arch rests.
Branchiosauria, nearest to the true batrachians; with persistent non-constricted notochord, surrounded by barrel-shaped, bony cylinders formed by the neural arch above and a pair of intercentra below, both these elements taking an equal share in the formation of a transverse process on each side for the support of the rib.
In some the notochord remains for a long time exposed along the ventral surface, and, owing to the absence of cartilaginous formation around it, disappears without ever becoming invested otherwise than by a thin elastic membrane; it can be easily stripped off below the vertebrae in larval specimens on the point of metamorphosing.
In others, which represent the perichordal type, the greater share of the formation of the whole vertebra falls to the (paired) dorsal cartilage, but there is in addition a narrow ventral or hypochordal cartilage which fuses with the dorsal or becomes connected with it by calcified tissue; the notochord is thus completely surrounded by a thick sheath in tadpoles with imperfectly developed limbs.
A ventral vessel occurs on the anterior side of the metasome and forms a loop extending down the entire length of the stalk, while a " heart " projects into the cavity of the pericardium, probably connected on the ventral side of the notochord with the ventral vessel, and on its dorsal side with the dorsal vessel.
The ordinal name for the genera and species of Amphioxus is Cephalochorda, the term referring to the extension of the primary backbone or notochord to the anterior extremity of the body; the family name is Branchiostomidae.
(Slightly altered from Kirkaldy.) rm and lm, Right and left metapleur; at, atriopore; an, anus; e, " eyespot" at anterior end of neurochord projecting beyond the myotomes (my); n, notochord; rgo, gonads of right side only showing through by transparency; go 20, the last gonad; dfr, dorsal fin with fin chambers and fin rays; vfc, ventral fin chambers.
A, Oral tentacles (28 to 32 in full-grown animals, 20 to 24 in half-grown specimens); B, praeoral hood or praeoral epipleur; C, plicated ventral surface of atrial chamber; D l, D 17, D26, gonads, twenty-six pairs, coincident with myotomes io to 36; E, metapleur or lateral ridge on atrial epipleur; F, atripore, coincident with myotome 36; G', G ' 5, G34, double ventral fin rays, extending from myotomes 37 to 52, but having no numerical relation to them; H, position of anus, between myotomes 51 and 52; I, notochord, projecting beyond myotomes; K7, K27, K62, myotomes or muscular segments of body-wall, 62 in number; L '°°, L230, L253, dorsal fin rays, about 250 in number, the hard substance of the ray being absent at the extreme ends of the body (these have no constant numerical relation to the myomeres); M, notochord as seen through the transparent myotomes, the thin double-lined spaces being the connective-tissue septa and the broader spaces the muscular tissue of the myotomes; N, position of brown funnel of left side (atrio-coelomic canal); 0, nerve tube resting on notochord.