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Lancelets: Cephalochordata

Florida Lancelet (branchiostoma Floridae): Species Account

Physical characteristics: Florida lancelets are whitish to creamy yellow, sometimes with a tint of pink. They have fifty-six to sixty-four muscle blocks and reach a length of 2.5 inches (6 centimeters).

Geographic range: Florida lancelets live in the Gulf of Mexico.

Habitat: Florida lancelets live on sandy bottoms in shallow seawater.

Diet: Florida lancelets eat plant plankton and diatoms.

Behavior and reproduction: Florida lancelets can swim but spend most of their time buried halfway in the sand. They capture food Florida lancelets are used for studies of embryonic development. (Patrick J. Lynch/Photo Researchers, Inc.) particles with a mucus net. They breed in Tampa Bay, Florida, from late spring to late summer. They can release eggs and produce and release more eggs in the same breeding season.

Florida lancelets and people: Florida lancelets are used for studies of embryonic development.

Conservation status: Florida lancelets are not considered threatened or endangered. ∎



Gee, Henry. Before the Backbone. London, Weinheim, New York: Chapman & Hall, 1996.

Simmer, Carl. Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. New York: Harper-Collins, 2001.


Stokes, M. D., and N. D. Holland. "Ciliary Hovering in Larval Lancelets (Amphioxus)." Biological Bulletin (June 1995): 231–233.

Web sites:

"Branchiostoma belcheri." Community-Based Conservation Management, China and Vietnam. http://ois.xmu.edu.cn/cbcm/english/resource/save/save04.htm (accessed on March 3, 2005).

"Introduction to the Cephalochordata." University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/chordata/cephalo.html (accessed on March 3, 2005).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceJellyfish, Sponges, and Other Simple AnimalsLancelets: Cephalochordata - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Lancelets And Vertebrates, Florida Lancelet (branchiostoma Floridae): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS