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Palmar and palmate membranes

Harry A. ten Hove hove at bio.uva.nl
Tue May 19 02:03:40 EST 1998

>Dear Sabellida workers,
>In front of me I have the Nelson-Smith OECD booklet on fouling serpulids
>open at figure one. Please tell me that the strange asymmetric palmar
>membrane illustrated is a misinterpretation of McIntosh's lithograph (on
>opposite page) and that 'palmar membrane' is merely an (incorrect?) term
>for fusion or webbing of the radiole edges.
>Palmate membrane in sabellids seems to be a more established term. Would I
>be right in thinking this would only be used (if it still is) when there is
>actually webbing present, rather than fusion of radiole edges?
>Finally I would like suggestions as to the owner & nature of the
>structure illustrated in fig 67 of 'the pink book.' What is it do you
>  Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.cri.nz>

Two years ago, in the course of finalizing a manuscript (which still is
not finalized completely), I started a discussion on sabellida terminology
with 11 or 12 sabellida workers. Unfortunately never found the time to
update my efforts with the comments received from some colleagues. The
entire discussion runs to about 8 or 9 pages, and was not meant to become
public in the raw form, I still have/want to edit these things, and then
we will go public. That moment, however, may last another year or so, so
if someone with access to the complete discussion will take over, please
go ahead. The introduction, and the relevant parts on the topic you are
stirring up, are pasted below.

(ten Hove's intro of 2 years ago)

With several of you I have to some extent discussed the problem of
non-consistent terminology in papers on Sabellida, leading to
difficulties when comparing descriptions, for instance when preparing a
data-matrix for cladistical analysis. I have addressed this problem a
couple of times, and in a more formal way for the opercula of Hydroides
(in a paper in Beaufortia 41, 16: 115-120, which most of you will have. If
not, I still have a few copies left). I have tried to be consistent
myself, by using a "standard description", but even then occasionally have
to be called to order by one of you, acting as a reviewer or as co-author.
It will remain to be a very difficult job (old habits die hard), needing
constant alertness and checks against an agreed terminology [and if not
agreed, at least against earlier papers by oneself]. It is far from me to
think of imposing a rigid scheme (apart from the fact that I couldn't if I
would), but it would be nice if we could agree on some general terms and
or principles.

(ten Hove's proposal was)

Basal web: preferred term: Interradiolar membrane.
Branchial membrane: preferred term: Interradiolar membrane.
Interbranchial membrane: preferred term: Interradiolar membrane.
Interradiolar membrane: thin membrane connecting basal parts of radioles in
some Sabellida.
Palmate membrane: preferred term: Interradiolar membrane.
Radiolar web(bing): see Interradiolar membrane.

(Phyllis Knight-Jones' comment was)

BRANCHIAL MEMBRANE: Radiolar or interradiolar web is best
PALMATE MEMBRANE: Radiolar or interradiolar web preferred. [One
never says that duck's feet have palmate or interdigital membranes!]

As you can see, still not a complete agreement. If I recall correctly (my
notes on this matter are at home right now), Gottfried Pillai quite
correctly pointed out that it was an "interradiolar" position of the
membrane rather than a "radiolar". My reluctance to use the term "web",
perfectly acceptable in the English language, may be caused by the fact
that this particular word in Dutch (and mutatis mutandis in the German
Webe) only is associated with the spider's web, and not with (swimming) web
or with (wingmembrane) web.

Now to your question "that 'palmar membrane' is merely an (incorrect?) term
for fusion or webbing of the radiole edges": the end of the arrow (line) in
Nelson-Smith's diagram is at the base of the branchial crown where all
radioles are still completely fused. If an interradiolar membrane were
present in this figure, it should be 4-14 mm higher up in the figure (to
the top af the page), to be exact the area just below the first bent over

"as to the owner & nature of the structure illustrated in fig 67 of 'the
pink book.'", you should ask Kristian directly. Personally I have thoughts
of branchiae of "errantiate" worms.


Harry A. ten Hove
Institute for Systematics and Population Biology
Zoological Museum, University of Amsterdam
POB 94766, 1090 GT AMSTERDAM

TEL. 3120 5256906
FAX. 3120 5255402

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