No common name

Cephalodiscus gracilis

ORDER Cephalodiscida

FAMILY Cephalodiscidae

TAXONOMY

Cephalodiscus gracilis M'Intosh, 1882, Straits of Magellan.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Cephalodiscus gracilis is a three-part animal with a cephalic shield, complex collar, and trunk. The collar has two rows of up to five arms each. The arms have ciliated tentacles that reach 0.2-0.3 in (5-7 mm) in length.

DISTRIBUTION

Originally found at the southern tip of South America, they have since been found in Atlantic and Indo-Pacific waters.

HABITAT

These marine hemichordates live in hollow coenecia, but are able to travel freely inside each coenicium and on its tubes. They are typically found in waters less than 65.6 ft (20 m) deep.

BEHAVIOR

Little is known about the behavior of this species.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

These organisms are filter feeders, using their cilia to create currents to direct the food. Their tentacles also flick food into the food canal. Their diet consists of organic food particles.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Embryos are brooded in the coenecium tubes. Cephalodiscus has a free-swimming larval stage followed by a enteropneust-like adult form. Adults eventually take on the characteristic U-shape.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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