They secrete a cuticle which never approaches in thickness the often calcified cuticle of Arthropods.
In addition to these, there exists in the interior of the dorsal valve of some genera a variously modified, thin, calcified, ribbon-shaped skeleton for the support of the ciliated arms, and the form of this ribbon serves as one of the chief generic characters of both recent and extinct forms. This brachial skeleton is more developed in some genera than in others.
In the Rhynchonellidae there are two short slender curved laminae, while in many genera and even families, such as the Productidae, Strophomenidae, Lingulidae, Discinidae, &c., there exists no calcified support for the labial appendages.
The old idea of the circulating blood being supersaturated with lime salts which in some way had first become liberated from atrophying bones, and then deposited, to form calcified areas in different tissues will have to be given up, as there is no evidence that this " metastatic " calcification ever takes place.