In Hydra adjacent epithelial cells are bound firmly to each other by desmosomes of a type not described in detail hitherto. The most prominent feature of these desmosomes is the presence of a series of parallel lamellae which bridge the intercellular space and connect the two apposed cell surfaces directly. These structures, here termed intercellular attachment lamellae, display two peaks of density about 50 A apart. These dense lines appear in some instances to be continuous with the outer dense components of the plasma unit membranes of the attached cells.
The presence of prominent lamellae in intercellular attachments is sufficiently distinctive to deserve special terminology; accordingly, the term septate desmosome is proposed. It is noted that septate desmosomes may have been seen in other animals in instances where published electron micrographs show cross-striations or prominent connections in regions of intercellular attachment.
It is suggested that septate desmosomes in Hydra, in addition to binding cells firmly to each other, form barriers to the movement of water into intercellular spaces and thus help to protect the organism's internal environment.
Observations on the use of phosphotungstic acid for improving contrast in materials embedded in epoxy resins are also recorded.