Behavior

The acorn worms are solitary animals that are generally found sheltered in burrows, under rocks, or in thick vegetation. The burrowing species, like Balanoglossus clavigerus, use their proboscis primarily to fashion U-shaped burrows. They line the burrow walls with epidermal secretions that provide added strength. Each end of the burrow lies at the surface of the sea bottom and the remainder of the "U" is underground. One end is a cone-shaped depression in the sand bottom, and the other can be identified by a several-inch-tall pile of worm castings a short distance away. Besides this main burrow, Bal-anoglossus also employs a few side tunnels. Frequently, acorn worms will stretch their proboscis and collar out of the tunnel, but they spend the bulk of their time underground. When threatened, acorn worms respond by expanding the proboscis, effectively anchoring the animal in its burrow or tangle of vegetation while withdrawing the rest of the body. Studies of phototaxis (movement toward or away from a light source) reveal that illumination stimulates some species, like Sac-coglossus ruber, to burrow deeper.

Because of the burrowing nature of most hemichordates, little is known about the reproductive and other behaviors of many species.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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