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Acanthocephala

(Phylum)

Overview

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Commonly known as spiny-headed worms, their name is derived from the characteristic eversible proboscis, which bears rows of recurved spines, used by the worms for attachment to the intestine of their host.

All acanthocephalans are endoparasitic, living in the intestine of vertebrates, mainly birds and fishes. The intermediate hosts are either crustaceans or insects.

They have no gut. The body wall comprises a syncytium that is perforated by spaces or lacunae. Sexes are separate and following copulation, fertilised eggs develop within the pseudocoel of the females until a larval stage with an anterior hooked crown is attained. The larva is then encased in a shell and passes out of the primary host in the faeces.

If an intermediate host eats the egg, the larva hatches from the shell and bores through the gut wall into the haemocoel. The larva completes its cycle of development in the gut of the primary host when the intermediate host is eaten. The adult maintains position in the gut by attachment of the spiny proboscis to the mucosa. [1]

Taxonomy

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The Phylum Acanthocephala is a member of the Kingdom Animalia. Here is the complete "parentage" of Acanthocephala:

The Phylum Acanthocephala is further organized into finer groupings including:

Families

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Apororhynchidae

Apororhynchida is an order containing one family, Apororhynchidae, and one genus, Apororhynchus, of microscopic parasitic worms that attach themselves to the intestinal wall of terrestrial vertebrates. [more]

Arhythmacanthidae

Arhythmacanthidae are a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. [more]

Cavisomatidae

[more]

Cavisomidae

Cavisomidae are a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. [more]

Centrorhynchidae

Centrorhynchidae is a family of parasitic worms. [more]

Dendronucleatidae

Dendronucleatidae is a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. It contains a single genus Dendronucleata with two known species. [more]

Diplosentidae

Diplosentidae is a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. [more]

Echinorhynchidae

Echinorhynchidae is a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. [more]

Fessisentidae

Fessisentidae are a family of parasitic worms from the phylum Acanthocephala. It contains a single genus Fessisentis. [more]

Giganthorhynchidae

Gigantorhynchida is an order containing a single family, Giganthorhynchidae of microscopic parasitic worms that attach themselves to the intestinal wall of terrestrial vertebrates [more]

Gigantorhynchidae

[more]

Heteracanthocephalidae

Heteracanthocephalidae is a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. [more]

Hypoechinorhynchidae

Hypoechinorhynchidae is a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. [more]

Illiosentidae

Illiosentidae is a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. [more]

Moniliformidae

Moniliformida is an order containing a single family, Moniliformidae, of microscopic parasitic worms that attach themselves to the intestinal wall of terrestrial vertebrates [more]

Neoechinorhynchidae

Neoechinorhynchidae is a family of parasitic worms from the order Neoechinorhynchida. [more]

Oligacanthorhynchidae

Oligacanthorhynchida is an order containing a single family, Oligacanthorhynchidae, of parasitic worms that attach themselves to the intestinal wall of terrestrial vertebrates [more]

Plagiorhynchidae

Plagiorhynchidae is a family of parasitic worms. [more]

Polyacanthorhynchidae

Polyacanthorhynchidae is a family of parasitic worms from the (phylum Acanthocephala). It contains a single genus Polyacanthorhynchus. [more]

Polymorphidae

The thorny-headed worm family Polymorphidae contains endoparasites which as adults feed mainly in fish and aquatic birds. When this taxon was erected by Meyer in 1931, a subfamily Polymorphidae was established in it. As the Polymorphidae as presently understood would then be monotypic, with no basal genera outside the Polymorphinae, the proposed subfamily is redundant for the time being and therefore most modern treatments simply omit it. [more]

Pomphorhynchidae

Pomphorhynchidae is a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. [more]

Quadrigyridae

Quadrigyridae is the only family within Gyracanthocephala, an order of parasitic worms of class Eoacanthocephala. This family contains two subfamilies, ten genera and about 92 species. [more]

Rhadinorhynchidae

Rhadinorhynchidae is a family of parasitic worms from the order Echinorhynchida. [more]

Tenuisentidae

Tenuisentidae is a family of parasitic worms from the (phylum Acanthocephala). [more]

More info about the Family Tenuisentidae may be found here.

Footnotes

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  1. http://bugguide.net/index.php?q=search&keys=Acanthocephala&search=Search

Sources

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Last Revised: August 25, 2014
2014/08/25 12:28:34