Relating to small aquatic invertebrates belonging to a group of phyla characterized by the possession of lophophores. They include bryozoans, brachiopods, and phoronids.
- One lophophorate phylum, the brachiopods, has a rich fossil record that dates back 600 Myr and contains more than 12,000 species; today, about 335 species are known.
- Molecular data sets indicate that lophophorate phyla are trochozoans but generally do not support grouping bryozoans with the phoronids and brachiopods.
- Phoronida is a second lophophorate phylum, comprising coelomate, vermiform animals living in chitinous tubes.
A lophophorate animal.
- The lophotrochozoan clade (defined as all the descendants of the last common ancestor of lophophorates, mollusks, and annelids) is more inclusive than originally suspected.
- Into the early 1990s most researchers and evidence suggested that the deuterostomes were composed of chordates, hemichordates, echinoderms, chaetognaths, and lophophorates.
- However, these two features are common in several different invertebrate phyla: tubular shells occur in, e.g., molluscs, annelids, lophophorates, and egg-shaped embryonic shells in, e.g., molluscs and bryozoans.
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