Torquaratoridae (Latin for “neck plow”) is a family of Hemichordata that lives in deep waters. They can grow up to three feet in length and have gelatinous bodies, often brightly colored. Cilia on their underside is used to glide over the ocean floor at about 3 inches an hour while detritus is sucked into their gut, leaving behind a constant trail of feces. When deciding to move to new feeding locations, they empty their gut and drifts over the bottom, aided by an excreted balloon of mucus, before they let themselves down somewhere else. One species (Coleodesmium karaensis) has been shown to care for the offspring by bearing about a dozen embryos in shallow depressions on the surface of the mother's pharyngeal region. The proboscis skeleton is reduced to a small medial plate in one genus, while it is absent in the remaining species, and the stomochord reduced in adults. Their large eggs suggests that there is direct development without larvae.
- From the Field: A Key Player in Evolutionary Biology has a New Family in the Deep Sea
- Karen J. Osborn, Andrey V. Gebruk, Antonina Rogacheva, Nicholas D. Holland (2013). "An Externally Brooding Acorn Worm (Hemichordata, Enteropneusta, Torquaratoridae) from the Russian Arctic". The Biological Bulletin 225 (2): 113–123. PMID 24243964.
- Osborn et al. (2011). "Diversification of acorn worms (Hemichordata, Enteropneusta) revealed in the deep sea". Proceedings of the Royal Society, B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.1916.
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