The pharynx projects freely into the atrium; it is surrounded at the sides and below by the continuous atrial cavity, but dorsally it is held in position in two ways.
These are suspended to the muscular bodywall by a double membrane, called the ligamentum denticulatum, which forms at once the roof of the atrial chamber and the floor of a persistent portion of the original body-cavity or coelom (the dorsal coelomic canal on each side of the pharynx).
The atrial region extends from the mouth over about twothirds of the length of the body, terminating at a large median ventral aperture, the atriopore; this is the excurrent orifice for the respiratory current of water and also serves for the evacuation of the generative products.
In most species of Balanoglossus each gill-slit may be said to open into its own atrial chamber or gill-pouch; this in its turn opens to the exterior by a minute gill-pore.
The atrium or atrial chamber is a peripharyngeal cavity of secondary origin effecting the enclosure of the gill-clefts, which in the larva opened directly to the exterior.
Now this ligament is inserted into the primary bars some distance below the upper limits of the gill-clefts, and it therefore follows that, corresponding with each tongue-bar, the atrial cavity is produced upward beyond the insertion of the ligament into a series of bags or pockets, which may be called the atrial pouches.
The ligamentum denticulatum is thus lined on one side by the epiblastic atrial epithelium, and on the other by mesoblastic coelomic epithelium.
The ventral side of the body in the atrial region is broad and convex, so that the body presents the appearance of a spherical triangle in transverse section, the apex being formed by the dorsal fin and the angles bordered by two hollow folds, the metapleural folds, each of which contains a continuous longitudinal lymph-space, the metapleural canal.
A, Edge of groove formed by adhesion of median dorsal surface of alimentary canal to sheath of notochord; b, median dorsal surface of alimentary canal; c, left dorsal aorta; cc, single dorsal aorta, formed by union of the two anterior vessels; cc', same vessel resting on intestine; d, cut edge of pharyngo-pleural folds of atrial tunic, really the original outer body-wall before the downgrowth of epipleura; d', atrial tunic (original body-wall) at non-perforate region, cut and turned back so as to expose peri-enteric coelom and intestine r; e', upstanding folds of body-wall (pharyngo-pleural folds) on alternate bars of perforate region of body; f, atrio-coeiomic canals or brown funnels (collar-pores of Balanoglossus); g, cavity of a gonad-sac; m, cut musculature of body-wall; n, anus; o, post-atrioporal extension of atrial chamber in form of a tubular caecum; p, atriopore; q, hepatic caecum; r, intestine; s, coelom; t, area of adhesion between alimentary canal and sheath of notochord; v, atrial chamber or branchial cavity; w, post-atrioporal portion of intestine; x, canals of metapleura exposed by cutting; E, probe passing through atriopore into atrial or branchial chamber; FF', probe passing from coelom, where it expands behind the atriopore, into narrower perienteric coelom of praeatrioporal region.
These are the atrial coelomic funnels or brown funnels, so called on account of the characteristic pigmentation of their walls.