Welcome to The Stylet -

Acoela and Nemertodermatida are marine worms that occur abundantly in sandy or silty sediments as well as among algae. Most of the species are members of the meiofauna (a mixed assemblage of small animals that will pass through a 250 µm sieve). Currently there are about 400 named species of Acoela and 9 species of Nemertodermatida.

A number of molecular phylogenetic studies have shown that acoels and nemertodermatids are not part of Platyhelminthes as previously thought. Their precise position in the animal tree of life is still contentious. Most of the recent studies indicate that they form early branches within Bilateria, which would make them pivotal to understanding the emergence of complex animals.

Taxonomic work on these soft bodied, fragile and microscopic animals requires special techniques. Their diversity and abundance will not be captured in a standard survey of marine biodiversity. Consequently they are rarley included in ecological and environmental studies.

The purpose of the Stylet is to provide comprehensive data on taxonomy, distributions, specimens, literature and original images regarding acoels and nemertodermatids. We will keep a forum open to engage in feedback and further communication. Welcome!

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith