An endostyle is a longitudinal ciliated groove on the ventral wall of the pharynx which produces mucus to gather food particles. It is found in urochordates and cephalochordates, and in the larvae of lampreys. It aids in transporting food to the esophagus. It is also called the hypopharyngeal groove. The endostyle in larval lampreys (ammocetes) metamorphoses into the thyroid gland in adults, and is regarded as being homologous to the thyroid gland in vertebrates. However, Dumont, et al. question whether the endostyle in ammocetes is homologous with that of the urochordates and cephalochordates.

Since the endostyle is found in the three branches of chordates, it is presumed to have arisen in the common ancestor of these taxa, along with a shift to internal feeding for extracting suspended food from the water.


  • Marine, David. 1913. The Metamorphosis of the Endostyle (Thyroid Gland) of Ammocoetes branchialis (Larval Land-Locked Petromyzon marinus (Jordan) or Petromyzon dorsatus (Wilder), The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 17:379-395. - URL retrieved December 1 2005
  • Ogasawara, M. and Satoh, N. 1998. Isolation and Characterization of Endostyle-Specific Genes in the Ascidian Ciona intestinalis, The Biological Bulletin, 195:60-69. - URL retrieved December 1 2005
  • Dumont, J. E., Corvilain, B., and Maenhaut, C. 2002. Chapter 1: The Phylogeny, Ontogeny, Anatomy, and Metabolic Regulation of the Thyroid, Thyroid Disease Manager. - URL retrieved December 1 2005

Search another word or see endostyleon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature