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Loricifera

(Phylum)

Overview

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A very recently discovered phylum of tiny marine animals, found living interstitially between sand grains.

These animals were the most recently described phylum (1983) until the discovery of Cycliophora in 1995.

They are very small (200-400 ┬Ám) and are found living in the interstitial space between marine gravel. Although first discovered off the coast of France they are apparently widely distributed.

Taxonomy

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The Phylum Loricifera is a member of the Superphylum Aschelminthes. Here is the complete "parentage" of Loricifera:

The Phylum Loricifera is further organized into finer groupings including:

Classes

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Loricifera

Loricifera (from Latin, lorica, corselet + ferre, to bear) is a phylum of very small to microscopic marine sediment-dwelling animals with twenty-two described species, in eight genera. Aside from these described species, there are approximately 100 more that have been collected and not yet described. Their size ranges from 100 ?m to ca. 1 mm. They are characterised by a protective outer case called a lorica and their habitat, which is in the spaces between marine gravel to which they attach themselves. The phylum was discovered in 1983 by Reinhardt Kristensen, in Roscoff, France. They are among the most recently discovered groups of Metazoans. They attach themselves quite firmly to the substratum, and hence remained undiscovered for so long. The first specimen was collected in the 1970s, and later described in 1983. They are found at all depths, in different sediment types, and in all latitudes. [more]

At least 6 species and subspecies belong to the Class Loricifera.

More info about the Class Loricifera may be found here.

Sources

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Last Revised: August 24, 2012
2012/08/24 19:59:10