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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 Gnathostomulida

Phylum Gnathostomulida

(p.182) 32 Phylum Gnathostomulida
Animal Evolution

Claus Nielsen

Oxford University Press

The phylum Gnathostomulida comprises approximately 100 described interstitial marine ‘worms’ that are mostly microscopic and confined to detritus-rich sands. The group, which has a contentious phylogenetic position, consists of two orders, Filospermoida and Bursovaginoida, which differ in general body shape, sperm, and reproductive organs. All species are hermaphrodites with separate testes and ovaries. On the basis of the monociliate epithelium, the gnathostomulids appear to be a sister group of gastrotrichs, whose ectoderm and cilia are nevertheless covered by a unique lamellar exocuticle. The name Gnathifera was proposed for a group consisting of the gnathostomulids, rotifers (including acanthocephalans), and the newly discovered Micrognathozoa.

Keywords:   marine worms, Gnathostomulida, Filospermoida, Bursovaginoida, gnathostomulids, gastrotrichs, Gnathifera, rotifers, Micrognathozoa

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