Erect tube growth in Rhabdopleura compacta (Hemichordata: Pterobranchia) from off Start Point, Devon


  • Susan Rigby

    1. Department of Geology, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7 RH and the British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham
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Patterns of tube construction in the upright tubes of Rhabdopleura compacta are described. Tube building is seen to be a highly regular process, with growth extending over more than one season. Participation in the building of any one tube can involve multiple generations of zooids. Spatial awareness in a zooid adding new material to a pre-existing tube can be demonstrated. This shows that the construction of the tube is strictly determined, either by environmental or genetic mechanisms, rather than being a function of developing zooid morphology, as previously suggested, or random processes.