Nematodes: Round worms


Nematodes have slender worm-like bodiesfound in marine, fresh water and soil habitats across all latitudes, as well as being internal parasites on many species of plants and animals. Free-living species are mostly less than 3 mm long, although 5 cm long species are also known. They have distinctive heads with buccal cavity (inner mouth) features that are important taxonomic characters.

Frr-living aquatic nematodes are primarily benthic and inhabit the interstitial spaces in sediments and algal mats but are even found in the sea ice brine channel system. Their abundances can be enormous.

Nematodes are a very diverse taxon with over 28,000 species known worldwide (including the many parasitic forms). There are undoubtedly many more to be described, since identification is extremely difficult. DNA sequencing is suggessting there may be more then 100,000 species! Over 400 free-living species are known from the Arctic.

Page Author: Bodil Bluhm
Created: Sept 20, 2010

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