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Class Turbellaria Ehrenberg, 1831


The Class Turbellaria comprises the free-living flatworms. Because it has been shown that the Turbellaria are a paraphyletic group (Ehlers 1985) the class name Turbellaria does not feature in modern classifications. However, for convenience the name Turbellaria is still used frequently to designate the free-living, non-helminth flatworms.

Turbellarians are acoelomate, bilaterally symmetrical animals with a blind gut and a cellular, ciliated epidermis. Usually, turbellarians are free-living but there are some commensal and parasitic species. Most turbellarians are hermaphrodites, but asexual reproduction is common in several groups. In most turbellarians the sperm has two flagellae, each flagellum generally containing a circle of nine peripheral doublet microtubules within its centre only one electron dense core. Cleavage and cell lineage are very similar to the spiralian pattern.

Turbellarians are softbodied worms living in aquatic or marine environments, sometimes on land in most environments. Most turbellarians are very small (less than 1 mm) and all are difficult to identify and require careful fixation.


Rhabdocoela Graff, 1904


Catenulida Meixner, 1924
Nemertodermatida Steinböck, 1931
Acoela Uljanin, 1870
Macrostomida Karling, 1940
Haplopharyngida Karling, 1974
Prolecithophora Karling, 1940
Lecithoepitheliata Reisinger, 1924
Seriata Bresslau, 1933
Polycladida Lang, 1884

Class Turbellaria