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Cephalorhyncha (=Loricifera, Priapulida, Kinorhyncha, Nematomorpha)
Neuhaus, B.; van der Land, J. (2001). Cephalorhyncha (=Loricifera, Priapulida, Kinorhyncha, Nematomorpha), in: Costello, M.J. et al. European register of marine species: a check-list of the marine species in Europe and a bibliography of guides to their identification. Collection Patrimoines Naturels, 50: pp. 159-160
In: Costello, M.J.; Emblow, C.; White, R.J. (Ed.) (2001). European register of marine species: a check-list of the marine species in Europe and a bibliography of guides to their identification. Collection Patrimoines Naturels, 50. Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle: Paris. ISBN 2-85653-538-0. 463 pp., more
In: Collection Patrimoines Naturels. Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle: Paris. ISSN 1158-422X, more

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    Cephalorhyncha [WoRMS]

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  • Neuhaus, B., more
  • van der Land, J., more



    The ERMS list for Kinorhyncha and Loricifera was compiled by J. van der Land and Birger Neuhaus. The list of valid species of Kinorhyncha is based on an unpublished list of synonymies by Robert P. Higgins made available to B. Neuhaus.

    The Kinorhyncha are a group of microscopic marine animals that comprise some 130 valid species (Pardos et al. 1998). Few species live exclusively in eulittoral sediments (e.g., Echinoderes coulli Higgins, 1977, E. caribiensis Kirsteuer, 1964) or in beach sands (e.g., Cateria styx Gerlach, 1956). However, most species inhabit the eulittoral and sublittoral including the deep-sea. Kinorhyncha live in the interstitial cavities and crevices of coarse or fine sandy substrate or of muddy sediments (Gerlach 1956, Higgins 1990, Vanhove et al. 1995, Zelinka 1928). Only the upper 1-10 cm of oxygen-rich substratum contain Kinorhyncha both in the eulittoral and sublittoral (Horn 1978, Thistle et al. 1985). Kinorhyncha feed on diatoms or bacteria (Higgins 1990, own observations). Kinorhyncha can be extracted from the sediment by the bubble and blot technique (Higgins & Thiel 1988). Higgins & Thiel (1988) describe additional suggestions for specimen processing. Close to nothing is known about the biogeography of kinorhynch species. Every scientist trying to identify Kinorhyncha from the area covered by ERMS is, therefore, well advised to consider species described from neighbouring areas as well, such as the following recorded from other parts of the Arctic Ocean:

    Echinoderes angustus Higgins & Kristensen, 1988Echinoderes aquilonius Higgins & Kristensen, 1988Echinoderes arlis Higgins, 1966Echinoderes eximus Higgins & Kristensen, 1988Echinoderes peterseni Higgins & Kristensen, 1988Echinoderes tubilak Higgins & Kristensen, 1988Pycnophyes borealis Higgins & Korczynski, 1989Pycnophyes canadensis Higgins & Korczynski, 1989Pycnophyes chukchiensis Higgins, 1991Pycnophyes cryopygus Higgins & Kristensen, 1988Pycnophyes greenlandicus Higgins & Kristensen, 1988Pycnophyes mokievskii Adrianov, 1995Pycnophyes spitsbergensis Adrianov, 1995

    It is also not impossible that species described from the North American coast may occur in European waters or species new to science may turn up. More recent keys for identification include Adrianov (1995), Higgins (1983), Higgins & Kristensen (1988), Huys & Coomans (1989), Pardos et al. (1998). Valuable information is also found in Adrianov & Malakhov (1994), Higgins (1977, 1978, 1985, 1990), Moore (1973), Nebelsick (1990), and Zelinka (1928).


    • Adrianov, A.V. & V.V. Malakhov (1994): Kinorhyncha: structure, development, phylogeny and taxonomy. - Nauka Publ., Moscow, pp. 260. [in Russian]
    • Adrianov, A. V. (1995): The first description of kinorhynchs from the Spitsbergen Archipelago (Greenland Sea), with a key to the genus Pycnophyes (Homalorhagida, Kinorhyncha). Canadian Journal of Zoology 73, 1554-1566.
    • Gerlach, S. (1956) Über einen aberranten Vertreter der Kinorhynchen aus dem Küstengrundwasser. Kieler Meeresforschungen 12: 120-124.
    • Higgins, R. P. (1977): Redescription of Echinoderes dujardinii (Kinorhyncha with descriptions of closely related species. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 248, 1-26.
    • Higgins, R. P. (1978): Echinoderes gerardi n. sp. and E. riedli (Kinorhyncha) from the Gulf of Tunis. Transactions of the Amererican Microscopical Society 97: 171-180.
    • Higgins, R. P. (1983): The Atlantic barrier reef ecosystem at Carrie Bow Cay, Belize, II: Kinorhyncha. Smithsonian Contributions to Marine Science 18:1-131.
    • Higgins, R. P. (1985): The genus Echinoderes (Kinorhyncha: Cyclorhagida) from the English channel. Journal of the Marine biological Association of the United Kingdom 65: 785-800.
    • Higgins, R. P. (1990): Zelinkaderidae, a new family of cyclorhagid Kinorhyncha. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 500: 1-26.
    • Higgins, R. P. & R. M. Kristensen (1988): Kinorhyncha from Disko Island, West Greenland. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 458:1-56.
    • Higgins, R. P. & H. Thiel (1988): Introduction to the study of meiofauna. - Smithsonian Institution press, Washington, D. C., 488 pp.
    • Horn, T. D. (1978): The distribution of Echinoderes coulli (Kinorhyncha) along an interstitial salinity gradient. Transactions of the Amererican Microscopical Society 97: 586-589.
    • Huys, R. & A. Coomans (1989): Echinoderes higginsi sp. n. (Kinorhyncha, Cyclorhagida) from the southern North Sea with a key to the genus Echinoderes Claparede. Zoologica Scripta 18: 211-221.
    • Moore, P. G. (1973): Campyloderes macquariae Johnston, 1938 (Kinorhyncha: Cyclorhagida) from the northern hemisphere. Journal of Natural History 7: 341-354.
    • Nebelsick, M. (1990): Antygomonas incomitata gen. et sp. n. (Cyclorhagida, Kinorhyncha) and its phylogenetic relationships. Zoologica Scripta 19: 143-152.
    • Pardos, F., R. P. Higgins & J. Benito (1998): Echinoderes cantabricus sp. n. and E. hispanicus sp. n. (Kinorhyncha, Cyclorhagida) from the north coast of Spain. Zoologischer Anzeiger 237: 195-208.
    • Rachor, E. (1975): Quantitative Untersuchungen uber das meiobenthos der nordostatlantischen Tiefsee. "Meteor" Forschungsergebnisse, Reihe D, 21: 1-10.
    • Thistle, D., J. Y. Yingst & K. Fauchald (1985): A deep-sea benthic community exposed to strong near-bottom currents on the Scotian Rise (Western Atlantic). Marine Geology 66: 91-112.
    • Vanhove, S., J. Wittoeck, G. Desmet, B. van den Berghe, R. L. Herman, R. P. M. Bak, G. Nieuwland, J. H. Vosjan, A. Boldrin, S. Rabitti & M. Vincx (1995): Deep-sea meiofauna communities in Antarctica: Structural analysis and relation with the environment. Marine Ecology Progress Series 127: 65-76.
    • Zelinka, K. (1928): Monographie der Echinodera. Verlag W. Engelmann, Leipzig, 396 S.


    The marine Loricifera are now known with 11 species from North America, Europe, and the Japanese deep-sea (Higgins & Kristensen 1986, Kristensen 1983, Todaro & Kristensen 1998). Only 2 species have been reported from Europe (Kristensen 1983, Todaro & Kristensen 1998). Loricifera inhabit various kinds of sediment from coarse sand or shelly gravel to red clay with silt and sand. They may be extracted from the substratum either by freshwater shock (Kristensen 1983) or by multiple decantations (Todaro & Kristensen 1998). It is certain that species new to science inhabit the area covered by the ERMS programme.


    • Higgins, R. P. & R. M. Kristensen (1986): New Loricifera from Southeastern United States coastal waters. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 438: 1-70.
    • Kristensen, P. M. (1983): Loricifera, a new phylum with Aschelminthes characters from the meiobenthos. Zeitschrift für zoologische Systematik und Evolutionsforschung 21: 163-180.
    • Todaro, M. A. & R. M. Kristensen (1998): A new species and first report of the genus Nanaloricus (Loricifera, Nanaloricida, Nanaloricidae) from the Mediterranean Sea. Italian Journal of Zoology 65: 219-226.

    Priapulida and Nematomorpha

    Compiled by Jacob van der Land
    The ERMS lists for Priapulida and Nematomorpha were based on Adrianov & Malakhov (1996) and on Malakhov & Adrianov (1995).


    • Adrianov, A.V. & V.V. Malakhov (1996): Priapilida [sic] (Priapulida): structure, development, phylogeny, and classification. - KMK Scientific Press, Moscow, pp. 266. [in Russian]
    • Malakhov, V.V. & A.V. Adrianov (1995): Cephalorhyncha - A new phylum of the animal kingdom. - KMK Scientific Press, Moscow, pp. 202. [in Russian]

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