Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Observations on the Gymnosomatous Pteropod Clione Limacina (Phipps)

J. E. Mortona1

a1 Department of Zoology, Queen Mary College, University of London


Some features of the digestive and reproductive systems, as well as the habits and swimming of the pteropod Clione limacina have been studied from specimens of the dwarf ‘southern’ race, which occurs at Plymouth. The animal swims rapidly by the sculling action of its two short rounded ‘wings’ or parapodia. Its buccal mass is characterized by specialized prehensile organs, consisting—as well as the radula—of adhesive tentacles (cephaloconi) and a pair of hook sacs. The rest of the gut is simple, consisting chiefly of a ‘stomach’ formed by two spacious digestive diverticula, that have replaced the true stomach. The lining includes absorbing-digestive cells and excretory cells. C. limacina is a protandrous hermaphrodite. The size distribution of a sample of 338 is shown. The youngest specimens are all males; in older groups developing oocytes are found, and in the largest are eggs not yet ready for shedding (September), as well as sperms. The genital tract is of the primitive opisthobranch form, with a sperm-storing hermaphrodite duct, albumen gland and mucus gland. An external seminal groove leads forward to the penial sheath in the head. The structure of the penis and prostate is described, and some previous views on the nature and functioning of these parts are criticized. Finally, the relationships of the gymnosomatous and thecosomatous pteropods are briefly reviewed, and the use of separate orders is recommended in place of the recently revived single group Pteropoda.