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Animal EvolutionInterrelationships of the Living Phyla$
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Claus Nielsen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606023

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606023.001.0001

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Phylum Ctenophora

Phylum Ctenophora

(p.55) 15 Phylum Ctenophora
Animal Evolution

Claus Nielsen

Oxford University Press

The phylum Ctenophora, or comb jellies, is comprised of about 150 living, marine species. Most species are holopelagic and transparent. Two members are Tjalfiella and Lampetia, while evidence now rules out the atentaculate Beroe as the sister group of the remaining families. Although the phylum shows significant morphological variation, it is nevertheless very well delimited. The ctenophores have the structure of a gastrula, with the blastopore remaining as the mouth-anus and the archenteron as the sac-shaped adult gut, but possess a mesodermal (mesogloeal and muscular) layer between the ectoderm and endoderm, which implies a higher level of organisation. The apical organ is a statocyst consisting of four compound cilia known as balancers, which carry a compound statolith.

Keywords:   ctenophores, Ctenophora, comb jellies, Tjalfiella, Lampetia, Beroe, ectoderm, endoderm, balancers

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