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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 Enteropneusta

Phylum Enteropneusta

Chapter:
(p.336) 60 Phylum Enteropneusta
Source:
Animal Evolution
Author(s):

Claus Nielsen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606023.003.0060

The Enteropneusta is a well-defined phylum consisting of approximately ninety species of burrowing or creeping, marine, worm-like invertebrates. On the basis of morphological characters, Pterobranchia is the sister group of the three or four enteropneust families. However, molecular studies suggest that there are main lineages of enteropneusts: Harrimaniidae and Ptychoderidae. The pterobranchs are considered the sister group of the Harrimaniidae. Four of the genera of the Enteropneusta are Saccoglossus, Glossobalanus, Balanoglossus, and Ptychodera. The Hox genes show a characteristic ‘ambulacrarian signature’. The enteropneusts possess both an axial complex and a series of gill slits, indicating that they are in a key position within the deuterostomes. The enteropneusts, pterobranchs, and echinoderms all have axial complexes with questioned homology.

Keywords:   enteropneusts, pterobranchs, echinoderms, Enteropneusta, Pterobranchia, Harrimaniidae, Ptychoderidae, Hox genes, deuterostomes, axial complexes

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