Thorny headed worms

Phylum Acanthocephala Number of families 22

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Parasitic thorny headed worms with complex life cycles; sexes separated; adults found in intestines of vertebrates (definitive host), larvae found in hemocoel (body cavity) of arthropods (intermediate hosts) and sometimes in body cavities of vertebrates (paratenic or transport hosts)

Photo: Scanning electron micrograph of the proboscis of Hypoechinorhynchus thermaceri, taken from the eelpout fish Thermarces andersoni, found near deep sea hydrothermal vents. (Photo by Isaure de Buron. Reproduced by permission.)

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