A minute worm that is an internal parasite of marine invertebrates. It lacks any internal organs other than reproductive cells, and dissolved nutrients are absorbed directly from the host’s tissues.
- Phyla Orthonectida and Rhombozoa; formerly placed together in the phylum Mesozoa, which was thought to be intermediate between protozoans and metazoans.
- The major group of mesozoans, the Dicyemida, live as microscopic parasites in the renal organs of squid and octopuses.
- The dicyemid mesozoans, once hypothesized to be non-bilaterian metazoans, have since been shown to possess central class Hox genes indicating that these enigmatic parasites are secondarily simplified bilaterians.
- Hox evidence has also placed dicyemid mesozoans in the clade.
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