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Cycliophora is a new phylum with affinities to Entoprocta and Ectoprocta


THE mouthparts of the Norway lobster Nephrops are colonized by an acoelomate metazoan, Symbion pandora gen. et sp. nov. Sessile stages continually produce inner buds replacing feeding structures. They also produce one of three motile stages: (1) larvae containing new feeding stages, (2) dwarf males, which settle on feeding stages, or (3) females, which settle onto lobster mouthparts, and eventually degenerate, giving rise to dispersive larvae. All motile stages are short-lived, and do not feed. The structure and function of the cilia suggest a phylogenetic position in Protostomia, while some aspects of inner budding and brooding of larvae are similar to those of Entoprocta and Ectoprocta. The dispersive larva possesses a mesodermal supporting chordoid structure, otherwise absent in protostomian larvae. We believe that all the above features of this previously undescribed species warrant the recognition of a new phylum with affinities to Ectoprocta and Entoprocta.

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Funch, P., Møbjerg Kristensen, R. Cycliophora is a new phylum with affinities to Entoprocta and Ectoprocta. Nature 378, 711–714 (1995).

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