Encyclopedia > Kinorhyncha

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Scientific classification
Order Cyclorhagida[?]
Order Homalorhagida[?]

Kinorhyncha (Gr. kinema motion + rhyncho snout) is a phylum of small (1 mm or less) marine pseudocoelomate[?] invertebrates that are widespread in mud or sand at all depths. They are sometimes called mud dragons.

They are segmented, with a body consisting of a head, neck, and a trunk of 11 segment. They do not have external cilia, but instead have a number of spines along the body, plus several circles of spines around the head, which they use for locomotion, withdrawing the head and pushing forward, then holding with the spines while drawing up the body. The spines are part of a cuticle secreted by the epidermis[?]; this is molted several times while growing to adulthood. The head is completely retractable, and is covered by a set of neck plates called placids when retracted.

Kinorhynchs eat diatoms and whatever else they can find in the mud.

There two sexes that look alike, and the larvae are free-living, but little else is known of their reproductive process.

At one time, they were considered to be a class within a phylum Cephalorhyncha[?] that included Loricifera and Priapulida. The two groups of Kinorhynchs are still generally characterized as orders rather than classes.

About 150 species are known.

Order Cyclorhagida

Order Homalorhagida

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