1. The metabolism of the sea anemone Metridium marginatum Edw. was measured in four states, relaxed, relaxing, contracted, and contracting, by means of an Osterhout respiratory apparatus. The basis of measurement was the number of hundred-thousandths of a milligram of carbon dioxide excreted per second by a gram of living sea anemone.
2. In the relaxed state this varied from 6.1 to 4.4+ and averaged 5.43–.
3. In a comparison of the relaxed and contracted states the amount of carbon dioxide excreted was found to beabout the same; in one instance in relaxation 4.2 and in contraction 4.1+; in another in relaxation 7.8+ and 7.9– and in contraction 8.1–.
4. In a comparison of the three states relaxed, relaxing, and contracting, the first two were found to average about the same, 4.8+ and 4.6– respectively and the last proved to be appreciably higher 7.1–.
5. It is, therefore, concluded that the process of relaxing and the states of relaxation and of contraction are accompanied by no unusual metabolism, but that in the operation of contracting the metabolism becomes about half again as intense as that characteristic of the other states.
6. The maintenance of the contracted state in Metridium for days at a time without an increase of metabolism indicates that its musculature is of the type known as tonus muscle.
7. In tonus muscle, contraction is accomplished by an active shortening of the myofibrils, extension by a passive drawing out of these fibrils through the distension of the adjacent cavities, etc., and the continued maintenance of any particular state of shortening by some form of catch mechanism in the muscle, such, possibly, as the gelation of its sarcoplasm.