Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Microbasic p-mastigophores, euryteles of two size groups, holotrichous isorhizas and atrichous isorhizas, comprise the cnidom of Chironex fleckeri, a cubozoan that has been responsible for several human fatalities. In its undischarged state each microbasic mastigophore of C. fleckeri consists of a capsule containing matrix and an inverted tube possessing a smooth-walled butt which is loosely coiled helically and which narrows to form a thread that is tightly coiled helically and markedly pleated. Both butt and thread carry three helices of spines and contain a granular matrix. During discharge, the proximal butt spines form initially a piercing stylet. Granular material from the butt and thread is released prior to the release of capsular material. Each eurytele possesses a tube with a butt composed of three bulbs, the middle bulb bearing long spines. Each holotrichous isorhiza possesses a coiled tube bearing small spines along its length. Each atrichous isorhiza exhibits a tube that is devoid of spines and loosely folded in the undischarged condition. The probable role of each type of nematocyst is inferred from its structure and features that enable the ready separation of the nematocysts of C. fleckeri from those of scyphozoan jellyfish are discussed.
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