You are here

Mollusks and Annelids

25 February, 2016 - 11:05

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the unique anatomical features of mollusks
  • Describe the features of an animal classified in phylum Annelida

The mollusks are a diverse group (85,000 described species) of mostly marine species. They have a variety of forms, ranging from large predatory squid and octopus, some of which show a high degree of intelligence, to small grazing forms with elaborately sculpted and colored shells. The annelids traditionally include the oligochaetes, which include the earthworms and leeches, the polychaetes, which are a marine group, and two other smaller classes.

The phyla Mollusca and Annelida belong to a clade called the Lophotrochozoa, which also includes the phylum Nemertea, or ribbon worms (Figure 15.3). They are distinct from the Ecdysozoa (nematodes and arthropods) based on evidence from analysis of their DNA, which has changed our views of the relationships among invertebrates.