The role of the coelom as a hydrostatic skeleton in lingulid brachiopods



Anatomical and experimental studies of the perivisceral coelom and pedicel of Lingula ana lina indicate that the coelomic fluid functions as a hydrostatic skeleton in respect of valve and pedicel movements, valve opening always being associated with positive pressures. The perivisceral coelom is surrounded by a body wall containing circumferential muscle fibres, whilst all muscles passing between the valves (principally adductor and oblique fibres) are located within the body wall. These two sets of muscles function similarly to the circular and longitudinal muscles of a classical hydrostatic skeleton.

Pressure recordings from the lumen of the pedicel and perivisceral coelom, during opening or rotary movements of the valves, were similar and showed pressure pulses of up to 0.8 kPa. During the initial stages of burrowing, pulses of up to 2.5 kPa were observed when the valves were being pressed into the sand. These values are well within the capability of the circumferential muscles of the body wall.