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Title: Serial block-face scanning electron microscopy of the tail tip of post-metamorphic amphioxus finds novel myomeres with odd shapes and unusually prominent sclerocoels
Serial block-face scanning electron microscopy of the tail tip of post-metamorphic amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae) revealed some terminal myomeres never been seen before with other techniques. The morphology of these myomeres differed markedly from the chevron shapes of their more anterior counterparts. Histologically, these odd-shaped myomeres ranged from empty vesicles bordered by undifferentiated cells to ventral sacs composed of well-developed myotome, dermatome, and sclerotome. Strikingly, several of these ventral sacs gave rise to a nipple-like dorsal projection composed either entirely of sclerotome or a mixture of sclerotome and myotome. Considered as a whole, from posterior to anterior, these odd-shaped posterior myomeres suggested that their more substantial ventral part may represent the ventral limb of a chevron, while the delicate projection represents a nascent dorsal limb. This scenario contrasts with formation of chevron-shaped myomeres along most of the antero-posterior axis. Although typical chevron formation in amphioxus is surprisingly poorly studied, it seems to be attained by a dorso-ventral extension of the myomere accompanied by the assumption of a V-shape; this is similar to what happens (at least superficially) in developing fishes. Another unusual feature of the odd-shaped posterior myomeres of amphioxus is their especially distended sclerocoels. One possible function for these might be to protect the posterior end of the central nervous system from trauma when the animals burrow into the substratum.  more » « less
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Journal of Morphology
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National Science Foundation
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