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Entoprocta

Entoprocta A phylum of small invertebrate aquatic animals typically having a cup-shaped body bearing tentacles and attached to the substrate by means of a stalk. The entire animal is usually less than 10 mm long. There are about 150 known species, widely distributed and almost exclusively marine. Many species are colonial and form mats on seaweeds, rocks, shells, and other surfaces in coastal waters. Each individual has a ring of 4–36 ciliated tentacles (calyx) on top of the body, enclosing both the mouth and anus. The tentacles set up a feeding current and trap minute plankton and other particles in mucus, transferring the particles to the mouth. Digestion occurs in the U-shaped gut and waste is discharged via the anus. There is no heart or blood vessels, and the nervous system consists of a single ganglion between the mouth and anus, from which nerves extend to the tentacles, body, and stalk. Dissolved nitrogenous waste is discharged by exocytosis from the stomach wall into the gut, and also collected by a ciliated flame cell, and discharged via pores. Reproduction is both asexual, by budding, and sexual. Most entoprocts are hermaphrodites, and produce free-swimming larvae that settle on a substrate before undergoing metamorphosis into the sessile adult form. The space between the body wall and the gut is filled with a jelly-like mesenchyme; this has been interpreted by some as a pseudocoelom, prompting the suggestion that entoprocts are allied with other pseudocoelomate animals, such as nematodes. Others argue that developmental similarities between entoprocts and bryozoans (see Bryozoa) point to a close relationship between these two groups.

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Entoprocta

Entoprocta (ĕn´təprŏk´tə), animal phylum consisting of small marine organisms living in shallow coastal waters. The entoprocts are either colonial or solitary. The body is vase-shaped, with the upper edge covered by ciliated tentacles that direct microscopic animals and debris into the U-shaped digestive tract. A stalk with an enlarged base attaches the organism to seaweed, other marine organisms, shells, or other material. Of the 60 or more known species, only one is found in freshwater. While in some species the sexes are separate, other species are hermaphroditic. Eggs and larvae develop in the ovary, and larvae are free-swimming before growing stalks and attaching. Pedicellina is a common marine colonial entoproct.

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Entoprocta

Entoprocta A subphylum of Bryozoa or (more usually) a separate phylum of freshwater animals which entirely lack a mineralized skeleton. The lophophore surrounds both the anus and the mouth. Many fossil forms are known, but the subphylum is known only from the Cenozoic. Formerly the Entoprocta was classified as a separate animal phylum, although its many resemblances to the Bryozoa were recognized. Compare ECTOPROCTA.

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Entoprocta

Entoprocta (phylum Bryozoa) Subphylum of freshwater bryozoans which entirely lack a mineralized skeleton. The lophophore surrounds both the anus and the mouth. Many fossil forms are known, but the subphylum is known only from the Cenozoic. Formerly the Entoprocta was classified as a separate animal phylum, although its many resemblances to the Bryozoa were recognized.

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