The mechanical properties of the body wall might enable elongation in Leptosynapta clarki
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Organisms have to behave within the range of mechanical properties of their body. Leptosynapta clarki, collected from False Bay, San Juan Island, WA, exhibited undocumented elongation behavior that might be associated with burrowing. In this paper the elongation ability, the elongation mechanisms, and the role of the body wall in elongation in Leptosynapta claki were studied. L. clarki elongated on the average of 2.85 times of its minimum length. L. clarki without tentacles elongated less than L. clarki with intact tentacles and was not able to burrow in to sediment. Indicating that the primary mechanism of elongation was the movement of oral tentacles. The tests performed on intact cylindrical body wall and cut, strips of body wall indicated that viscoelastic properties of L. clarki body wall were disrupted when the body wall was cut longitudinally and internal organs were removed. Since the maximum strain from mechanical testing and natural range of extension were very close, it is possible that L. clarki was opering at its maximum capacity of the body wall.