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Turbellarian Taxonomic Database
Tyler S, Schilling S, Hooge M, and Bush LF (comp.) (2006-2012) Turbellarian taxonomic database. Version 1.7
Contact: Tyler, Seth

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Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

A listing of the taxonomy of turbellarians (formerly class Turbellaria of the phylum Platyhelminthes), initially compiled by Louise Bush. The Turbellarian Taxonomic Database provides taxonomic information to the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). more

About turbellarians

Traditional, pre-cladistic systems placed the flatworms in a single phylum, the Platyhelminthes, subdivided into the classes Turbellaria, Monogenea, Trematoda, and Cestoda. Turbellarians are the largely free-living flatworms - those that don't parasitize other animals -, while the other classes encompass the obligate parasites, most of which live in or on the bodies of vertebrates. Turbellaria is, in particular, considered an invalid class because it is not monophyletic. It is either paraphyletic (that is, having descendants, namely the parasitic classes, that are not classified within it); or it could be polyphyletic (that is, having arisen from more than one ancestor, one for the acoels and another for catenulidans and rhabditophorans). The term "turbellarian" can still be applied to those worms that were formerly classified in the Turbellaria, but the term "Turbellaria" would have to be written in quotation marks to indicate its paraphyletic status.

In recognition of recent proposals based on molecular sequences, the system displayed here treats the Acoelomorpha as separate from the phylum Platyhelminthes. The position and status of Acoelomorpha have been volatile in molecular systematics, some claiming that it itself is paraphyletic, many claiming that it belongs near the base of the animal tree of life, as the most basal bilaterians - that is, the most primitive of any animal phylum outside of the sponges and cnidarians. The most recent genomic study (Phillipé et al., 2011), placed the Acoelomorpha within the Deuterostomia, in a phylum Xenacoelomorpha; Xenacoelomorpha is placed as sister group to the Ambulacraria (Ehinoderms + Hemichordata). Significantly, the earlier proposals that Acoelomorpha was the most primitive bilaterian - a controversial claim that did not make sense in terms of the morphology of acoels - are now seen to be a result of a statistical error known as long-branch attraction. The Platyhelminthes, as defined in these molecular systems, would be only distantly related to the Acoelomorpha and classified as a lophotrochozoan phylum.

This taxonomic database covers all turbellarian flatworms, including parasitic turbellarians. The position of the major parasitic taxa (the other classes in the traditional system), encompassed now in the taxon Neodermata, is shown as proposed by cladistic systems based on morphological characters. About the taxonomic listing

Data in this listing were initially compiled by Louise Bush using programs developed by Seth Tyler. Dr. Bush's last update to the database was in 1991, the year of her death. Since 1991, the database has been updated by Seth Tyler, Steve Schilling, and Matt Hooge, with help from specialists on various groups of turbellarian platyhelminths, including Masaharu Kawakatsu, Ulrich Ehlers, Marco Curini-Galletti, Oleg Timoshkin.

Availability of images is denoted with a symbol, which links to one or more images of mostly systematic importance. Most images of Rhabdocoela and Proseriata were kindly provided by Tom Artois and Ernest Schockaert of Universitair Centrum, Diepenbeek, Belgium; Matt Hooge, University of Maine; and Rick Hochberg, Smithsonian Institution, Fort Pierce, FL. Images of Acoela, Prolecithophora, and other Rhabdocoela were provided by Matt Hooge.

The data pertaining to the Acoelomorpha are the most reliable, having been checked more thoroughly for accurracy in synonymy and literature citations. Notes in this section (reached with the "notes" links and symbols by the taxon names) are transcriptions from or images of index cards that Louise Bush maintained. They summarize references to the taxa made in the literature (up to about 1991; more recent notes are separated from Bush's with a horizontal line). Notes on groups outside the Acoelomorpha are mostly in the form of images of index cards. Steve Schilling transcribed Bush's notes and scanned the cards for this database. He is also entering biogeographical data.

Entry of data on the geographic distribution of species is supported in part by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). Steve Schilling is handling these data, gathering collection records of turbellarian species world-wide (both marine and freshwater). Species for which data have been entered are flagged with a "dist'n hyperlink, and clicking on this hyperlink will list those records. Maps of those collection sites can be reached using the map hyperlink and the map all distribution points at the end of each listing. The Turbellarian Taxonomic Database provides taxonomic information to the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS).

Biology, Biology > Ecology - biodiversity, Biology > Invertebrates
Marine, Fresh water, Classification, Marine invertebrates, Species, Taxonomy, World Waters, Turbellaria

Geographical coverage
World Waters [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
From 1758 on [In Progress]

Taxonomic coverage
Turbellaria [WoRMS]

Distribution, Taxonomy

University of Maine, moredata manager
University of Maine; School of Biology and Ecology, moredata manager

Related datasets
(Partly) included in:
WoRMS: World Register of Marine Species, more

Dataset status: In Progress
Data type: Data
Data origin: Literature research
Metadatarecord created: 2012-08-30
Information last updated: 2012-08-30
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