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Myzostomids: Myzostomida

No Common Name (myzostoma Cirriferum): Species Account

Physical characteristics: The body of Myzostoma cirriferum is egg-shaped and flat, measuring up to 0.09 inches (2.4 millimeters) in length with ten pairs of cirri around the edge. The tubelike mouthparts reach up to 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) when fully extended. The flaps and other organs are well developed and are located underneath the body.

Geographic range: They are found in the Mediterranean Sea and along the northeastern Atlantic coasts of Europe.

Habitat: This species lives on shallow-water sea lilies.

Diet: Myzostoma cirriferum eats floating particles of food diverted from the food grooves on the arms of the sea lilies.

Myzostoma cirriferum eat floating particles of food diverted from the food grooves on the arms of the sea lilies. (Illustration by John Megahan. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Several hundred of these myzostomids may infest a single sea lily.

Mature individuals reproduce year round by attaching sperm packets to one another. Sperm from the packets penetrates the skin and fertilizes eggs inside the body.

Myzostoma cirriferum and people: This species does not directly impact people or their activities.

Conservation status: This species is not considered endangered or threatened. ∎



Grygier, M. J. "Class Myzostomida." In Polychaetes and Allies: The Southern Synthesis. Fauna of Australia. Vol. 4A, Polychaeta, Myzostomida, Pogonophora, Echiura, Sipuncula, edited by Pamela L. Beesley, Graham
J. B. Ross, and Christopher J. Glasby. Melbourne, Australia: CSIRO, 2000.


Eeckhaut, I., and M. Jangoux. "Life Cycle and Mode of Infestation of Myzostoma cirriferum (Annelida)." Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 15 (1993): 207-217.

Eeckhaut, I., D. McHugh, P. Mardulyn, R. Tiedemann, D. Monteyne, M. Jangoux, and M. C. Milinkovitch. "Myzostomida: A Link between Trochozoans and Flatworms?" Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 267 (2000): 1383-1392.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMollusks, Crustaceans, and Related SpeciesMyzostomids: Myzostomida - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Myzostomids And People, No Common Name (myzostoma Cirriferum): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS