Nephridia in annelids
Two different kinds of filtration nephridia, protonephridia and metanephridia, are described in Polychaeta. During ontogenesis protonephridia generally precede metanephridia. While the latter are segmentally arranged, protonephridia are characteristic for the larva and are the first nephridial structure formed during ontogenesis. There is strong evidence that both organs depend on the same information and that their specific structure depends on the way in which the coelom is formed and which final expansion it gains. While metanephridia are regarded to be homologous throughout the polychaetes, protonephridia seem to have evolved in several lineages. Some of the protonephridia closely resemble less differentiated stages of metanephridial development, so that protonephridial evolution can be explained by truncation of the metanephridial development. Nevertheless, structural details are large enough to allow us to expect information on the polychaete evolution if the database on polychaete nephridia increases. A comparison of the polychaete metanephridia with those of the Clitellata and Sipuncula reveals some surprising details. In Clitellata the structure of the funnel is quite uniform in microdrilid oligochaetous Clitellata and resembles that of the aeolosomatids. Like the nephridia in the polychaete taxa Sabellida and Terebellida, those of the Sipunucla possess podocytes covering the coelomic side of the duct.