|They are present in shallow marine habitats and mangrove habitat. The specimens encountered in Bocas del Toro were collected from the mangroves at the Bocas del Toro Research Station. |
|Natural History Notes|
|The first identified specimen of the phylum Placozoa, named Trichoplax adhaerens, was first discovered by F. E. Schulze (1883), in a marine aquarium in Austria and had been thought to constitute the only species of this phylum until recently. It is considered the most primitive form of multicellular animals and has the least amount of DNA ever sequenced in an animal. Although very little is known about Placozoans, studies using genetic variations and molecular markers have indicated that a broader variety of species would exist within that Phylum. Placozoans can be collected by â€¨hanging microscope slides in the water column around mangroves for 2-3â€¨weeks. They are then often seen crawling on the slides but their natural substrate is not known. A better understanding of that species will come with the Trichoplax genome project that is currently underway Also, what is known so far about that species in terms of reproductive cycles and feeding habits comes from laboratory studies. More studies in the natural environment would be necessary. |
|Transparent with an occasional pinkish tinge, rounded shape, up to 3 mm across in size, body covered with flagella.|
Lacks symmetry, nervous system and internal organs. Body filled with fluid. Made up of four somatic types of cells. Possesses 6 haploid chromosomes.
|In Bocas Del Toro|
|Reported By||Allen G. Collins|
|Rebecca Rissanen, Zoe Joly-Lopez|
|Voigt, O., A.G. Collins, V.B. Pearse, J.S. Pearse, A. Ender, H. Hadrys and B. Schierwater. 2004. Supplemental data: Placozoa â€”no longer a phylum of one. Current Biology 14: 944-945. |
Signorovitch et al., 2006, Caribbean Placozoan Phylogeography, Biol. Bull. 211: 149 â€“156.
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