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Sea Ice Acoela

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Acoela are small flatworms without a gut. Instead, digestion happens in a vacuole formed around ingested food particles. Because of the lack of a gut the acoela appear solid, hence the name. Acoela are primarily marine and most live at the sea floor. Until recently, Acoela were considered part of the Turbellaria in the group Plathelminthes. The Acoela in sea ice are typically smaller than 1 mm and white, orange or red in color.

The Acoela in sea ice have not been identified to species level yet and the number of species occurring in sea ice is hence unknown, although estimated to be low. Their plastic body shape allows them to enter and traverse narrow brine channels in the sea ice. They often occur in high abundances in the spring and summer both in fast and pack ice and are probably primarily herbivorous.

Page Author: Bodil Bluhm
Created: Feb 10, 2009

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