Mantle (mollusc)

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Description:
The mantle (also known by the Latin word pallium meaning mantle, robe or cloak, adjective pallial) is a significant part of the anatomy of molluscs: it is the dorsal body wall which covers the visceral mass and usually protrudes in the form of flaps well beyond the visceral mass itself.

In many, but by no means all, species of molluscs, the epidermis of the mantle secretes calcium carbonate and conchiolin, and creates a shell.

The words mantle and pallium both originally meant cloak or cape, see mantle . This anatomical structure in molluscs often resembles a cloak because in many groups the edges of the mantle extend far beyond the main part of the body, forming flaps, double-layered structures which have been adapted for many different uses, including for example, the siphon.

The mantle cavity

The mantle cavity is a central feature of molluscan biology. This cavity is formed by the mantle skirt, a double fold of mantle which encloses a water space. This space contains the mollusc's gills, anus, osphradium, nephridiopores, and gonopores.

The mantle cavity functions as a respiratory chamber in most molluscs. In bivalves it is usually part of the feeding structure. In some molluscs the mantle cavity is a brood chamber, and in cephalopods and some bivalves such as scallops, it is a locomotory organ.

The mantle is highly muscular. In cephalopods the contraction of the mantle is used to force water through a tubular siphon, the hyponome, and this propels the animal very rapidly...
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