Embryos and larvae of an isocrinid sea lily, Metacrinus rotundus, are described by scanning electron microscopy. Around hatching (35 h after fertilization), the outer surface of the gastrula becomes ubiquitously covered with short cilia. At 40 h, the hatched swimming embryo develops a cilia-free zone of ectoderm on the ventral side. By 3 days, the very early dipleurula larva develops a cilia-free zone ventrally, densely ciliated regions laterally, and a sparsely ciliated region dorsally. At this stage, the posterior and anterior ciliary bands first appear: the former runs along a low ridge separating the densely from the sparsely ciliated epidermal regions, while the latter is visible, at first discontinuously, along the boundary between the densely ciliated lateral regions and the cilia-free ventral zone. In the late dipleurula larva (5 days after fertilization), the anterior and posterior loops of ciliary bands are well defined. The transition from the dipleurula to the semidoliolaria larva occurs at 6 days as the posterior loop becomes rearranged to form incompletely circumferential ciliary bands. The larva becomes competent to settle at this stage. The arrangement of the ciliary bands on the semidoliolaria is maintained during the second week of development, while the larva retains its competence to settle. The larval ciliary patterns described here are compared with those of stalkless crinoids and eleutherozoan echinoderms. The closest morphological similarities are between M. rotundus and the basal eleutherozoan class Asteroidea.
ASJC Scopus subject areas