It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The proboscis is an infolding of the body wall, and sits in the rhynchocoel when inactive. When muscles in the wall of the rhynchocoel compress the fluid in the rhynchocoel, the pressure makes the proboscis jump inside-out to attack the animal's prey along a canal called the rhynchodeum and through an orifice, the proboscis pore. The proboscis has a muscle which attaches to the back of the rhynchocoel, and which can stretch up to 30 times its inactive length and then retract the proboscis.
The proboscis of the class Anopla ("unarmed") exits from an orifice which is separate from the mouth, coils around the prey and immobilizes it by sticky, toxic secretions. The Anopla can attack as soon as they move into the range of the proboscis. Some Anopla have branched proboscises which Ruppert, Fox and Barnes describe as "a mass of sticky spaghetti". The animal then draws its prey into its mouth.
In most of the class Enopla ("armed"), the proboscis exits from a common orifice of the rhynchocoel and mouth. A typical member of this class has a stylet, a calcareous barb, with which the animal stabs the prey many times to inject toxins and digestive secretions. The prey is then swallowed whole or, after partial digestion, its tissues are sucked into the mouth. The stylet is attached about one-third of distance from the end of the everted proboscis, which extends only enough to expose the stylet. On either side of the active stylet are sacs containing back-up stylets to replace the active one as the animal grows or an active one is lost. Instead of one stylet, the Polystilifera have a pad that bears many tiny stylets, and these animals have separate orifices for the proboscis and mouth, unlike other Enopla. The Enopla can only attack after contacting the prey.
Nemertea is a phylum of invertebrate animals also known as "ribbon worms" or "proboscis worms". Alternative names for the phylum have included Nemertini, Nemertinea and Rhynchocoela. Although most are less than 20 centimetres (7.9 in) long, one specimen has been estimated at 54 metres (177 ft), which would make it the longest animal ever found. Most are very slim, usually only a few millimeters wide, although a few have relatively short but wide bodies. Many have patterns of yellow, orange, red and green coloration.
In 1555 Olaus Magnus wrote of a marine worm which was apparently 17.76 metres (58.3 ft) long ("40 cubits"), about the width of a child's arm, and whose touch made a hand swell. William Borlase wrote in 1758 of a "sea long worm", and in 1770 Gunnerus wrote a formal description of this animal, which he called Ascaris longissima. Its current name, Lineus longissimus, was first used in 1806 by Sowerby. In 1995, a total of 1,149 species had been described and grouped into 250 genera.