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Bilaterians Acoelomates

4. Phylum Platytielimintes (flatworms)

- These ribbon shaped soft bodied animals are flattened dorsoventrally from top to bottom.
Flatworms are the simplest bilaterally symmetrical animals with a definite head at the anterior
end and they do possess organs. Their bodies are solid, only internal space consist of the
digestive cavity. They range from a millimeter or less to many meters as in some tape worms.
Most species of flatworms are parasitic occurring within the bodies of many other kinds of
animals. Other flatworms are free living, occurring in a wide variety of marine and freshwater
habitats as well as moist places on land.
- Freeliving flatworms are carnivores and scavengers. They eat various small
animals and bits of organic debree. They move from place to place by means
of ciliated epithelial cells. Which are particularly concentrated on their
ventral (bottom) surfaces. The flatworms that have a digestive cavity have an
incomplete gut: one With only one opening as a result they cannot feed,
digest, and eliminate undigested particles of food simultaneously. Cells that
line the gut engulf most of the food particles by phagocytosis and digest
- Tapeworms which are parasitic flatworms lack digestive systems. They
absorb their food directly through their body walls. Unlike Cnidarians, flat
worms have an excretory system which consist of a network of fine tubules.
Cilia line the hollow centers of bulb like flame cells located on the side
branches of the tubules. Cilia move water and excretory substances into the
tubules and then exit pores located between the epidermal cells. A large
portion of the metabolic wastes excreted by flatworms diffuses directly into
the gut and is eliminated through the mouth.
- Like sponges, Cnidarians and Cnetophores, flatworms lack circulatory
systems for the transport of oxygen and food molecules. All flatworm cells
must be within diffusion distance of oxygen and food. This is possible
because they have thin bodies and high branched digestive cavities.
- The nervous system of flat worms is very simple. Most members of this
phylum have longitudinal nerve cord that constitutes a simple central
nervous system. Free living member have eye spots on their heads. These
eye spots help the worms distinguish light from dark. And worms move away
from strong light.
- The reproductive system of flatworms are complex. Most flatworms are
hermaphroditic, which each individual containing male and female sexual
structures. In many of them, fertilization is internal. When they mate, each
partner deposits sperm in the copulatory sac of the other. Flat worms are
also able of asexual reproduction. In some genera, when a single individual is
divided into 2 or more parts. Each part can regenerate into an entirely new

3 classes under this phylum:
1. CLASS TUBELLARIA (referred to as tubellarious) (free living)
- The most familiar is the freshwater genus, dugesia, abundant in lakes, ponds
and the sea. Some occur In moist places on land.

2. CLASS TREMATODA (flukes) (parasitic)
- There are two classes of parasitic flatworms, that live within the bodies of
other animals- flukes and tapeworms. Both group of worms have epithelial
layers resistant to the digestive enzymes and immune defences produced by
their host. Lack certain features of free living flatworm such as cilia at the
adult stage, eye spots and other sensory organs.
- Flukes take in food through their mouth. There are approximately 10000
species, ranging in length from less than one millimeter to more than 8
centimeters. They attach themselves within the bodies of their host by
means of suckers, anchors or hooks. Some have a life cycle that only involves
one host(usually a fish). Most have life cycles involving two or more hosts.
Their larvae almost always occur in snails. The final host is usually a
vertebrate. To humans, one of the most important flatworms is the human
liver fluke (clonorchis sinensis) who lives in the bile passages of the liver in
humans, cats, dogs and pigs. They are 1-2 centimeters long. Another
important fluke is the blood flukes and they cause a disease called
schistosomiasis(biharziasis). 800000ppl die from this disease a year.
3. CLASS CESTODA (tapeworms) (parasites)
- Hang on the inner walls of their hosts by means of specialized terminal
attachment organs and absorb food thru their skins. Most species occur in
the intestines of vertebrates. The long flat bodies of tapeworms are divided
into 3 zones- THE SCOLEX or attachment organ, THE UNSEGMENTED NECK
and, a series of repetitive segment PROGLOTLID. Each progluten is a
complete hermaphroditic unit
Have a simple body cavity and lack a defined circulatory system. This role is performed
by fluids that move within the pseudocell.

5. PHYLUM NEMATODA (roundworms)
- Some members include nematodes, eelworms and other round worms
(ascaris and pinworm)
- Found everywhere. Nematodes are abundant and diverse in marine and
freshwater habitats. And many members are parasites to animals and plants.
Many nematodes are microscopic and live in soil. They can eat roots of
bananas and kill them. Nematicides can kill them though. But very expensive.
- Nematodes are bilaterally symmetrical unsegmented worms. They are
covered by a flexible thick cuticle which is molted(shed) 4x as they grow.
When nematodes move, their bodies whip about from side to side. They
gather nutrients and exchange oxygen through their cuticle, but also possess
a well-developed digestive system. The mouth is equipped with piercing
organs called STYLETS. Nematodes completely lack flagella or cilia even on
sperm cells.
- Reproduction in nematodes are sexual. With the sexes usually separated
(male and female nematodes).
- The diets of nematodes vary greatly. Many are active hunters, preying on
protist and other small animals. Many species of nematodes are parasites
living within the bodies of larger animals (like hookworms- a parasitic
nematode). These hookworms suck blood thru the intestinal wall and they
can produce anemia if left untreated.
- NEMATODE CAUSING DISEASES:- trichinosis (common in temperate regions)
cause by worms of the genus trichinella, these worms live in the small
intestines of pigs, infections in humans and other animals arise from eating
undercooked or raw pork which the cyst are present.
- Pinworms= about 30% of children and 16% of adults are affected by this.
Adult pinworms live in the large intestines of humans. Symptoms are not
severe and can easily be treated with drugs.
- Ascaris is an intestinal round worm(live in intestine of humans and
other).others in the tropic include filaria which infects approx. 250 million ppl
world wide. They live in the lymphatic system which they obstruct causing
sever inflammation and swelling (filariasis). if left untreated a condition
known as Elephantiasis.