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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Phoronids for the Fourth

Eric and his summer students spotted these wonderful phoronids, Phoronis vancouverensis, at the Spud Point Marina docks yesterday (3 July 2017):

Remember that phoronids are known for their beautiful lophophores, the U-shaped crown of tentacles shown below:

While looking at these phoronids, we noticed some of the lophophores looked a little differentsome had paired white spots in the center of the lophophore:

Here's a closer look (below).  Note that each of the white spots looks like a little bunch of grapes (clusters of smaller rounded blobs).  Do you have a guess about what they are?

The next image is the closest I could get with my camera at the time:

Each of the white clusters is a group of small developing embryos. Phoronis vancouverensis is a brooder!  The embryos will develop within the lophophore for about 2 weeks.  Then the tiny larvae will swim away, spending time in the plankton before returning to the benthos and undergoing metamorphosis into tiny juvenile phoronids.

I felt fortunate to be photographing phoronids on the Fourth of July!  :)

P.S.  For more information about phoronids, review the post from 27 June 2013.


Amy said...

Elegant alliteration and great pictures of my favorite phylum :)

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, Amy! Great to hear from you!

I now have a point-and-shoot camera that can go underwater, so we'll see if I can get a nice Phoronopsis harmeri photo. Stay tuned!

:) Jackie

Leth Benz said...

That's so cool!