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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 Cephalochordata

Phylum Cephalochordata

Chapter:
(p.358) 63 Phylum Cephalochordata
Source:
Animal Evolution
Author(s):

Claus Nielsen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606023.003.0063

The Cephalochordata, or lancelets, is comprised of only about thirty species representing two families, making it one of the smallest phyla in the animal kingdom. All cephalochordates are marine, living primarily more or less buried in coarse sand. The whole genome of the most common genus, Branchiostoma, or amphioxus, contains a very complete set of genes, including the chordate Hox genes. The notochord is surrounded by a thick basal membrane, and extends anteriorly beyond the mouth and the ‘dorsal’ nerve tube, and posteriorly to the tip of the tail.

Keywords:   cephalochordates, Cephalochordata, lancelets, Branchiostoma, amphioxus, Hox genes, notochord

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