Locomotory and other movements of the proboscis of Bonellia viridis (Echiura, Bonelliidae)



An account is given of the various movements of the proboscis of Bonellia viridis. When at rest, the proboscis is coiled up in front of the trunk. The proboscis lobes progress with a velocity of the order of 1 mm/sec by means of powerful cilia situated on the dorsal surface of the leading edge. The lobes passively drag and uncoil the stem of the proboscis which is further uncoiled by muscular contractions taking place along the uncoiled part of the stem. Proboscis retraction takes place by means of contraction of the numerous longitudinal muscle strands of the stem. The terminal lobes can attach to the substrate and pull the trunk by contraction of the proboscis stem. The proboscis often ties itself into a knot which it can untie.