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102
ANTHOZOA

these perhaps the most interesting is Gonactinia prolifera (fig. 11, B), with eight macromesenteries arranged on the Edwardsian plan. Two pairs of micromesenteries form couples with the first and second Edwardsian pairs, and in addition there is a couple of micromesenteries in each of the sulculo-lateral exocoeles. Only the first and second pairs of Edwardsian macromesenteries are fertile, i.e. bear gonads.

The remaining forms, the Actiniidea, are divisible into the Malacactiniae, or soft-bodied sea-anemones, which have already been described sufficiently in the course of this article, and the Scleractiniae (= Madreporaria) or true corals.


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Fig. 15.—Corallum of Caryophyllia; semi-diagrammatic. th, Theca; c, costae;
sp, septa; p, palus; col, columella.


All recent corals, as has already been said, conform so closely to the anatomy of normal Actinians that they cannot be classified apart from them, except that they are distinguished by the possession of a calcareous skeleton. This skeleton is largely composed of a number of radiating plates or septa, and it differs both in origin and structure from the calcareous skeleton of all Alcyonaria except Heliopora. It is formed, not from fused spicules, but as a secretion of a special layer of cells derived from the basal ectoderm, and known as calicoblasts. The skeleton or corallum of a typical solitary coral—the common Devonshire cup-coral Caryophyllia smithii (fig. 15) is a good example—exhibits the followings parts:—(1) The basal plate, between the zooid and the surface of attachment. (2) The septa, radial plates of calcite reaching from the periphery nearly or quite to the centre of the coral-cup or calicle. (3) The theca or wall, which in many corals is not an independent structure, but is formed by the conjoined thickened peripheral ends of the septa. (4) The columella, a structure which occupies the centre of the calicle, and may arise from the basal plate, when it is called essential, or may be formed by union of trabecular offsets of the septa, when it is called unessential. (5) The costae, longitudinal ribs or rows of spines on the outer surface of the theca. True costae always correspond to the septa, and are in fact the peripheral edges of the latter. (6) Epitheca, an offset of the basal plate which surrounds the base of the theca in a ring-like manner, and in some corals may take the place of a true theca. (7) Pali, spinous or blade-like upgrowths from the bottom of the calicle, which project between the inner edges of certain septa and the columella. In addition to these parts the following structures may exist in corals:— Dissepiments are oblique calcareous partitions, stretching from septum to septum, and closing the interseptal chambers below. The whole system of dissepiments in any given calicle is often called endotheca. Synapticulae are calcareous bars uniting adjacent septa. Tabulae are stout horizontal partitions traversing the centre of the calicle and dividing it into as many superimposed chambers. The septa in recent corals always bear a definite relation to the mesenteries, being found either in every entocoele or in every entocoele and exocoele. Hence in corals in which there is only a single cycle of mesenteries the septa are correspondingly few in number; where several cycles of mesenteries are present the septa are correspondingly numerous. In some cases—e.g. in some species of Madrepora—only two septa are fully developed, the remainder being very feebly represented.


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Fig. 16.—Tangential section of a larva of Astroides calicularis which has fixed itself
on a piece of cork. ec, Ectoderm; en, endoderm; mg, mesogloea; m, m, mesenteries;
s, septum; b, basal plate formed of ellipsoids of carbonate of lime secreted by the
basal ectoderm; ep, epitheca. (After von Koch.)

Though the corallum appears to live within the zooid, it is morphologically external to it, as is best shown by its developmental history. The larvae of corals are free swimming ciliated forms known as planulae, and they do not acquire a corallum until they fix themselves. A ring-shaped plate of calcite, secreted by the ectoderm, is then formed, lying between the embryo and the surface of attachment. As the mesenteries are formed, the endoderm of the basal disk lying above the basal plate is raised up in the form of radiating folds. There may be six of these folds, one in each entocoele of the primary cycle of mesenteries, or there may be twelve, one in each exocoele and entocoele. The ectoderm beneath each fold becomes detached from the surface of the basal plate, and both it and the mesogloea are folded conformably with the endoderm. The cells forming the limbs of the ectodermic folds secrete nodules of calcite, and these, fusing together, give rise to six (or twelve) vertical radial plates or septa. As growth proceeds new septa are formed simultaneously with the new couples of secondary mesenteries. In some corals, in which all the septa are entocoelic, each new system is embraced by a mesenteric couple; in others, in which the septa are both entocoelic and exocoelic, three septa are formed in every chamber between two primary mesenterial couples, one in the entocoele of the newly formed mesenterial couple of the secondary cycle, and one in each exocoele between a primary and a secondary couple. These latter are in turn embraced by the couples of the tertiary cycle of mesenteries, and new septa are formed in the exocoeles on either side of them, and so forth.


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Fig. 17.—Transverse section through a zooid of Cladocora. The corallum shaded
with dots, the mesogloea represented by a thick line. Thirty-two septa are present,
six in the entocoeles of the primary cycle of mesenteries, I; six in the entocoeles of
the secondary cycle of mesenteries, II; four in the entocoeles of the tertiary cycle
of mesenteries, III, only four pairs of the latter being developed; and sixteen in the
entocoeles between the mesenterial pairs. D, D, Directive mesenteries; st,
stomodaeum. (After Duerden.)


It is evident from an inspection of figs. 16 and 17 that every