The planktonic larva of certain invertebrates, including some molluscs and polychaete worms, having a roughly spherical body, a band of cilia, and a spinning motion.
- Polychaetes usually have separate sexes; many polychaetes hatch into a particular type of planktonic larva, the trochophore, which later metamorphoses into a juvenile annelid.
- One widely-mooted suggestion is that planktotrophic larvae, typified by the annelidan trochophore and echinoid pluteus, existed long before the metazoan radiations evident in the Cambrian fossil record.
- The larva is a typical trochophore with apical organ, prototroch and metatroch of compound cilia, adoral ciliary zone and gastrotroch of separate cilia, and a pair of protonephridia; only the telotroch is missing.
Late 19th century: from Greek trokhos 'wheel' + -phore.
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