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Encyclopedia > Acoelomorpha

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Subkingdom: Metazoa
Phylum: Acoelomorpha

The Acoelomorpha are a phylum of animals formerly considered flatworms, but now known to be a separate group, basal among the Bilateria.

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The Platyhelminthes and the Acoela (3871 words)
Their sister-group relationship is strongly supported by similarities in their ciliation (nemertodermatids have their cilia interconnected by ciliary rootlets and have shelfed tips), and similarities in body-wall structure (reduction of extracellular matrix), reproductive organs (lack of sperm ducts and lack of female ducts), and the relation of the statocyst to the nervous tissue.
Such a claim is actually not new: Haszprunar (1996) also proposed a basal position for the Acoelomorpha on the basis of the lack of paired cerebral ganglia, lack of an orthogonal nervous system, and lack of ultrafiltration nephridia.
Separating the Acoelomorpha from the others as a distinct phylum is a reasonable, if still controversial, move, at least serving to focus attention on the Acoelomorpha which, no matter how it is approached, is a phylogenetically important group.
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