|Figure 15-8 Dorsal view of adult
Loricifera (L., lorica
, corselet, + Gr., phora
, bearing) are a very recently
described phylum of animals (1983).
The tiny animals (0.25 mm long) live in
spaces between grains of marine
gravel, to which they cling tightly.
Though they were described from
specimens collected off the coast of
France, they are apparently widely distributed
in the world.
Form and Function
Loriciferans have oral styles and scalids
rather similar to those of the
kinorhynchs, and the entire forepart of
the body can be retracted into the circular
lorica (Figure 15-8). The nature
of their diet is unknown. Their brain
fills most of the head, and scalids are
innervated by nerves from the brain
and other ganglia. Sexes are separate,
but details of reproduction are unknown.
Juveniles resemble adults in
several respects but have a pair of
tapering toes that are believed to function