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Third branchial arch muscles
Other Terms: Pharyngeal muscles, Muscles of the pharynx
The third branchial arch only contributes in a minor way to the muscles of the head. A single muscle, the stylopharyngeus muscle, is the sole muscle from this arch. Like the muscles of the fourth arch, the stylopharyngeus muscle retains its embryonic position in the wall of the developing foregut to contribute to the muscular wall of the pharynx. The glossopharyngeal nerve, cranial nerve number nine, innervates the stylopharyngeus muscle. Like the other pharyngeal muscles, this muscle participates in actions of the pharyngeal wall associated with swallowing.