Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Creature 336: Dicyemida

Not everyone's unique

Dicyemida is a strange phylum of small parasitic animals that specialise on cephalopods

An adult dicyemid. These extremely simple animals live inside the kidneys of cephalopods, typically octopuses and cuttlefish. It seems as though their relationship with the host may have extended beyond parasitism to become a mutualism. Photo: © Hidetaka Furuya.

Their bodies are not very complicated, lacking most basic organ systems common in the rest of the bilateria such as a digestive or excretory system or even a brain. Individuals of the same species have exactly the same number of cells when they are adults. The larger species can grow up to 7mm long.

Juvenile Dicyemida are found on the ocean floor in temperate oceans. Adults are found inside cephalopods and are usually temperate but can sometimes be found outside temperate regions.

Kingdom: Aminalia
Phylum: Dicyemida

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