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Abstract

Larvae of the stolidobranch ascidian Metandrocarpa taylori molt a thin sheath upon settling, then metamorphose and radiate a larval complement of vascular ampullae upon the substrate. These ampullae thereafter regress, “rest” in a reduced condition for several weeks, and then regrow into the oozooids definitive array of vascular ampullae in accompaniment to the development of the oozooidal vascular nest of test-vessels. Pallial buds emerge some four months after the larva settles; the oozooid has by then grown to a length of at least 2 mm and its vascular nest is surrounded by at least 16 vascular ampullae. Oozooids bud one to five buds (mean, 2.6) in a rather short period of blastogenic vigor, then persist in the colony. Late buds are frequently aborted. Buds appear anywhere around the basal margin of the oozooid, but more often on the left than the right and more often posteriorly than anteriorly. As other studies have observed with blastozooids, this study notes an integration of budding and the disposition of the elements of the test-vessel system of oozooids. Buds emerge oriented tangentially to the parental basal margin at the bud-site, then often rotate to point their anterior ends away from the parent. No larvae metamorphosed into oozooids with situs inuersus uiscerurn, but in this study two oozooids extruded blastozooids showing this anomaly; these blastozooids budded reversed zooids in turn, so that entire clonal lines showed the anomaly.