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Subclass Rhabdocoela Graff, 1904


Mostly small turbellaria with pharynx bulbous and simple saccate gut (occasionally absent), parenchyma fairly open. Protonephridia paired when present. With anterior brain and ventral nerve trunks (usually one main pair) with cross connections, usually without statocyst. Gonads with a tunica and mostly with ducts; testes usually compact, eggs ectolecithal, ovaries separate or sometimes joined to vitellaria (ovo-vitellaria); sexually reproducing, often with a uterus. Mainly aquatic, some terrestrial, many symbiotic.




This is a very large group of worms. Graff (1904 -8) gave a comprehensive account, but naturally knowledge has grown enormously since then. The treatment here excludes the parasitic helminth groups, called Neodermata by Ehlers (1984) because they have a nonciliated tegument. He and Ax (1984) would include all these forms in the Rhabdocoela.
Sterrer and Rieger (1990) erected a new family Luridae for rhabdocoels with anterior statocyst. There are two genera Lurus Marcus, 1950 (formerly Provorticidae) and Luriculus Faubel, Rohde and Watson, 1994.

Subclass Rhabdocoela