Mysterious underwater larvae put scientists in a deadlock
Horseshoe worms phoronida are one of the most neglected types.
May 15, 2019 at 14:35
In the seas and oceans around the world live phoronida (lat. Phoronida) is a type of marine invertebrate animals from the group PERVICHNAYA. For the first time, their larvae were described in 1846, and ten years later, biologists caught adults. And they are so not like each other, which was wrongly identified as different types.
Life expectancy phoronid about a year; the breeding continues from spring to autumn; from the egg planktonic larva leaves actinotrocha. Her body is transparent and has a different color. In the process of development, it swims in surface waters, but growing up, sinks to the bottom, being attached to rocks or corals.
Body vermiform adult phoronida length from 0.6 cm to 45 cm enclosed in chitinous tube, which lower end is immersed in sludge or sand. Upper end protrudes outside headquarters, carrying lofofora – beam ciliated tentacles surrounding the mouth of the animal.
Phoronida feed on the small organisms that are deposited on the tentacles. Some worms are very beautiful; the surface of the tubes may be covered with adherent grains of sand and fragments of shells.
Colony phoronida Phoronis hippocrepis
Currently, scientists know of about 15 species phoronid described for an adult. Biologists from the Smithsonian tropical research University has decided to fill the gap, focusing on the study of larvae. They had a selection of the plankton of the Panama Bay and the Caribbean sea. Examining it with a microscope, they found dozens of larval animals: 23 of the Pacific and 29 from the Atlantic. Were then sequenced their DNA, and on the basis of the obtained data was allocated to seven types that do not have genetic connection with any known adults phoronid.
Three of this number are from Panama Bay, and the rest lived in the waters of the Caribbean archipelago Bocas del Toro. The discovery suggests that these larvae may belong to a new to science species. However, it is unknown what will look like the adults, and even their targeted searches can take years – especially considering their habitat at depth.
Find out about the other strange inhabitants of underwater world.