Friday, September 7, 2012

Phylum Cycliophora

The description of a new phylum indicates that the newly discovered organism is different from all known creatures in some very fundamental ways in terms of body plan, development and life cycle.  The Cycliophora were described in 1995, and these microscopic creatures, which make their home on the mouthparts of lobsters, are quite distinctive.  The details of their morphology and life cycle are clearly described in the references from the primary literature listed below and are nicely summarized at the Encyclopedia of Life.  The most compelling presentation of the life cycle of the cycliophorans, which includes sexual and asexual cycles, dwarf males, and various larval forms, is surely this video at CreatureCast.  Check out their full archive for more, and you may find a video created by someone in our current Invertebrate Zoology class.

Funch, P. & R.M. Kristensen, 1995. Cycliophora is a new phylum with affinities to Entoprocta and Ectoprocta.  Nature 378:711-714 doi:10.1038/378711a0
pdf is here
Kristensen, R.M. 2000.  An Introduction to Loricifera, Cycliophora, and Micrognathozoa.  Integrative and Comparative Biology 42:641-651. doi: 10.1093/icb/42.3.641

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