In the family of the Diplograptidae the branches are reduced to two; these also coalesce similarly by their dorsal walls, and the polypary thus becomes biserial (diprionidian), and the line of the nema is taken by a long axial tube-like structure, the nemacaulus or virgular tube.
The thecae in several of the families are occasionally provided with spines or lateral processes: the spines are especially conspicuous at the base in some biserial forms: in the Lasiograptidae the lateral processes originate a marginal meshwork surrounding the polypary.
Certain American forms, however, which are preserved as stellate groups, have been interpreted as complex umbrella-shaped colonial stocks, individuals of a still higher order (synrhabdosomes), composed of a number of biserial polyparies (each having a sicula at its outer extremity) attached by their nemacauli to a common centre of origin, which is provided with two disks, a swimming bladder and a ring of capsules.
With very few exceptions, the integuments form imbricate scalelike folds arranged with the greatest regularity; they are small and pluriserial on the upper parts of the body and tail, large and uniserial on the abdomen, and generally biserial on the lower side of the tail.
In their disposition they are either uniserial, biserial or multiserial.