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By Diana R. Kershaw (auth.)

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Sensory and nerve cells are both found in Hydra. The sensory cells are elongated, and placed at right angles to the surface, where they have a sensory sphere or bristle. The base of each cell gives rise to a number of neuron processes. The nerve cells lie at the base of the epidermis and are elongated with two or more processes orientated parallel to the mesogloea. The basal disc of Hydra is composed of mucus-secreting cells, with myonemes similar to those of the epitheliomuscular cells. The histology of the gastrodermis is similar to that of the epidermis: interstitial cells, nerve and sensory cells (although in far smaller numbers) and mucus-secreting cells being present.

At first the trophozoite lives on the cytoplasm, although it does not ingest its food, having no structure for so doing. It is thought to exude digestive enzymes which act upon the cytoplasm in its immediate vicinity, the soluble products of digestion being absorbed through the pellicle. Thus unlike the free-living Amoeba and Paramecium it does not form food vacuoles but digests its food outside its body. This method of digestion is common amongst parasitic animals. Eventually the trophozoite grows too large for the sperm morula (the host cell) and then lives in the seminal fluid from which it absorbs nutriment in the same way as do the developing sperms.

The cells which surround the osculum are more sensitive than others and will contract when stimulated, thus closing the opening. Because, however, the sponges lack any structure which could be Section through a gemmule of a freshwater sponge Sponges have remarkable powers of regeneration. If a sponge is separated into single cells by squeezing it through a piece of silk, the cells will migrate together to form a cell Phylum Porifera mass which will then grow into a new sponge by repeated cell diyisions.

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