In the Phylactolaemata the outermost layer of the bodywall is a flexible, uncalcified cuticle or "ectocyst," beneath which follow in succession the ectoderm, the muscular layers and the coelomic epithelium.
The free (frontal) wall may remain membranous and uncalcified, or as in Membranipora (figs.
The mantle-skirt is always long, and hides the rest of the animal from view, its dependent margins meeting in the middle line below the ventral surface when the animal is retracted; it is, as it were, slit in the median line before and behind so as to form two flaps, a right and a left; on these the right and the left calcareous valves of the shell are borne respectively, connected by an uncalcified part of the shell called the ligament.
It is to be remembered that the whole of the cuticular hard product produced on the dorsal surface and on the mantle-flaps is to be regarded as the " shell," of which a median band-like area, the ligament, usually remains uncalcified, so as to result in the production of two valves united by the elastic ligament.
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