think of worms, images of earthworms, roundworms, tapeworms,
inchworms, or silk worms may pop into your mind, and in many
cases, you may think of them as "yucky" or "slimy."
But did you know that some of these animals are not even worms?
Silk worms and inchworms, for example, are the larvae of moths.
what are worms? To a zoologist, "worms" is a group
of mostly long, creeping or wriggling invertebrate animals.
Animals are divided, based on their body plan, into about
40 groups called phyla. Of these phyla, about half are worm-shaped.
the worm phyla include the Annelida or segmented worms, the
Nematoda or round worms, the Nemertea (ribbon worms), the
Platyhelminthes (flatworms), the Echiura (spoon worms), the
Sipunculida (peanut worms), and the Gastrotricha and Kinorhyncha,
two phyla of tiny marine worms that don't have common names
(although Gastrotricha translates into "bellyhairs"
because these worms glide around on tiny hair-like structures
along their bottom sides; Kinorhyncha means "movable
snout" because these animals can withdraw their heads
into their necks).
web pages, we concentrate on a group of flatworms called Polycladida.
We want to show you how beautiful, interesting, and exciting
these flatworms can be. We will take you on a tour of their
biology, show you how they eat, live, and mate. We will also
tell you about their past history, and how we can use flatworms
today to teach us about the health of the environment. Although
we will be concentrating on this particular group of flatworms,
we have provided links for you to web sites covering other
flatworms and other worms.
navigate the primer, use the buttons in the right panel.
pages are for educational purposes only. If you use any of
the information or the images in your classes, please credit
these web pages. © MK Litvaitis, 2005
credits to Leslie Newman, Andrew Flowers, or Anne DuPont,
unnless otherwise indicated.