Definitions for brachiolaria

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Webster Dictionary

  1. Brachiolaria

    a peculiar early larval stage of certain starfishes, having a bilateral structure, and swimming by means of bands of vibrating cilia

Freebase

  1. Brachiolaria

    A brachiolaria is the second stage of larval development in many sea stars; it follows the bipinnaria. Brachiolaria have bilateral symmetry, unlike the adult sea stars, which have a pentaradial symmetry. Starfish of the order Paxillosida have no brachiolaria stage, with the bipinnaria developing directly into an adult. The brachiolaria develops from the bipinnaria larva when the latter grows three short arms at the underside of its anterior end. These arms each bear sticky cells at the tip, and they surround an adhesive sucker. The larva soon sinks to the bottom, attaching itself to the substrate, firstly with the tips of the arms, and then with the sucker. Once attached, it begins to metamorphose into the adult form. The adult starfish develops only from the hind-part of the larva, away from the sucker. It is from this part that the arms of the adult grow, with the larval arms eventually degenerating and disappearing. The digestive system of the larva also degenerates, and is almost entirely rebuilt. A new mouth forming on the left side of the body, which eventually becomes the lower, or oral, surface of the adult. Similarly, a new anus forms on the right side, which becomes the upper, or aboral, surface.

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