The worm inhabits the lung of the frog and toad, and is hermaphrodite (Schneider) or parthenogenetic (Leuckart); the embryos hatched from the eggs find their way through the lungs into the alimentary canal and thence to the exterior; in a few days they develop into a sexual larva, called a Rhabditiform larva, in which the sexes are distinct; the eggs remain within the uterus, and the young when hatched break through its walls and live free in the perivisceral cavity of the mother, devouring the organs of the body until only the outer cuticle is left; this eventually breaks and sets free the young, which are without teeth, and have therefore lost the typical Rhabditis form.
In correspondence with the tri-regional differentiation of the body in its external configuration, the coelom (body-cavity, perivisceral cavity) is divided into three portions completely separated from one another by septa: - (I) proboscis-coelom, or first body-cavity; (2) the collar-coelom, or second body-cavity; (3) truncal coelom, or third body-cavity.
Thus in the Chaetopoda the perivisceral cavity is coelomic; in this respect the group contrasts with the Arthropoda and Molluscs, where the perivisceral cavity is, mainly at least, part of the vascular or haemal system, and agrees with the Vertebrata.
It is characteristic of the group that the mouth should be the only means of ingress to and egress from the digestive sac and that no true perivisceral space or coelom exists in the sense in which these terms are used in higher Invertebrates.
The omnipresence of this connective tissue tends to exclude the formation of any perivisceral body cavity in Nemertines.