Hydrostatic skeleton, Biology

Hydrostatic Skeleton

The functioning of the hydrostatic skeleton in an animal depends upon the musculature being arranged around an enclosed volume of fluid. After that, contraction of some of the muscles can cause pressure on the fluid that can be transmitted to the rest of the body, in all directions. In annelids, the coelom with the fluid in the coelomic space (or spaces) together along with the surrounding musculature constitute the hydrostatic skeleton. The coelomic fluid has a constant volume. Commonly speaking, contraction of any muscle in the body wall of an annelid would cause an increase in the hydrostatic pressure that in turn would cause stretching of flaccid muscles. In annelids along with circular and longitudinal 'muscles, contraction of one set of muscles is accompanied through stretching of the other. Polychaetes have feebly developed body musculature. The spacious coelom is compartmentalized through transverse septa. Though, there are perforations in the transverse septa which allow continuity of the coelomic fluid among compartments. So in polychaetes the hydrostatic skeleton is not well developed. In oligochaetes, the body musculature is very well developed and the transverse septa do not have the perforations during locomotion. The coelom in the adjoining segments stays mostly isolated. Like the longitudinal muscles of a segment contract, the circular muscles relax and owing to the incompressibility of the coelomic fluid, the segment turns shorter but thicker. Simultaneous protrusion of the setae helps the worm anchor to the substratum. While the reverse happens, that is, when the circular muscles contract, the longitudinal muscles relax, the segments become long and thin, the setae are withdrawn and the body progress forward. That is, the contraction and relaxation activities are localized being limited to a few segments of the body, the wave of contraction and relaxation passing from one end to the other. This results in the animal's progression.

Posted Date: 2/4/2013 2:08:40 AM | Location : United States

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