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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 Kinorhynch

Phylum Kinorhynch

(p.297) 53 Phylum Kinorhynch
Animal Evolution

Claus Nielsen

Oxford University Press

The Kinorhyncha, or mud dragons, is a small phylum consisting of roughly 200 benthic, marine invertebrates measuring almost less than one millimetre long. It represents two generally recognised orders, Cyclorhagida and Homalorhagida, although the group shows significant homogeneity. Many of the cyclorhagids ingest diatoms, whereas most of the homalorhagids live on detritus. One species, Echinoderes capitatus, has a mid-dorsal spine on the fourth segment that contains a multiciliary receptor cell. The monophyly of the kinorhynchs is clearly demonstrated by the ‘segmented’ musculature and nervous system corresponding to the nine rings of cuticular plates of the trunk. The phylum shares a number of characters with priapulans and loriciferans suggestive of the monophyly of the Scalidophora, including the chitinous cuticle, the large introvert with different types of scalids, the presence of tanycytes, and the two rings of introvert retractor muscles. The sister-group relationship with the loriciferans is supported by a non-inversible mouth cone with cuticular ridges and spines.

Keywords:   mud dragons, Kinorhyncha, Cyclorhagida, Homalorhagida, cyclorhagids, homalorhagids, kinorhynchs, priapulans, loriciferans, Scalidophora

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