Comprehensive Description

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External Appearance

(from Coe, W. R. (1901). Papers from the Harriman Alaska Expedition. XX. The nemerteans.. Proc. Wash. Acad. Sci.. 1-110.)
Head very variable in shape, commonly wider than the portion of body immediately following; flattened, sometimes sharply demarcated by lateral constrictions. Tip of snout pointed, rounded, or emarginate according to the state of contraction. On each side of the head is an inconspicuous V-shaped furrow, with the ends pointing obliquely forward above and bow. The upper limb of the furrow reaches into the dark color of the dorsal surface, where it is sometimes conspicuous from its light color.

The color varies considerably but is commonly homogeneous dark brown, orange brown, or purplish brown above and on the sides while the ventral surface is opaque white or whitish yellow. In most specimens the dark purple of the dorsal surface encroaches considerably on the ventral surface, shading gradually into whitish or yellowish. Seen from the ventral surface therefore the worms appear dull white or yellowish white, with a wide border of dark purple. Oftentimes the whitish color occupies scarily more than the median third of the ventral surface, and on the head it covers also the sides and front. The head is dark purplish brown above, bordered in front and laterally by the light color of the ventral surface. At the posterior border of the head is a small angular spot on each side corresponding in color with that of the ventral surface. Behind the head is a narrow, V-shaped dorsal marking, usually of lighter color, with its ends pointed forward and outward. In paler individuals the pinkish color of the brain lobes can be distinguished. The natural color of the body is well retained in formalin or alcohol.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Ritger, Rebecca

Source: Nemertea

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