The form of beat of cilia and the structure of the metachronal wave on the lateral gill epithelium of Mytulus edulis have been studied on living material by interference-contrast microscopy and stroboscopic illumination, and compared with the same features in rapid-fixed preparations studied by light microscopy and with the scanning electron microscope. The most striking finding is that the beat of the cilia is not planar, as previously assumed, but involves a sideways movement in the recovery stroke Previous reports on nonplanar ciliary beating from protozoan examples describe a planar effective stroke and a counterclockwise rotation in the recovery stroke; in this molluscan example there is a clockwise rotation in the recovery stroke The lateral inclination of the cilia in the recovery stroke is in the same direction as the propagation of the waves, and the orientation of cilia in the recovery stroke is thought to determine whether the waves move to the left or right of the direction of the effective stroke

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