Overview

Brief Summary

Taxonomy

Diagnosis
  • Elongate shell, oval to subrectangular
  • Weakly biconvex and poorly mineralized
  • Ventral valve has a weakly developed pedicle groove
The linguliformean subphylum is regarded as the most primitive of the brachiopods. They lack any form of shell articulation and rely on a complex internal musculature to keep the valves in place and to move them. The pedicle in these forms appears from between the two valves rather than a dedicated foramen in one of the valves as seen in the more derived brachiopod subphyla.Also, unlike the other two brachiopod subphyla which have calcium carbonate shells, the ligulids have an organophosphatic shell. Again this hints at a primitive condition.
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Introduction

Lingula anatina and other Lingulid brachiopods represent a group of organisms that have a fossil record stretching back over 500 million years to the earliest parts of the Palaeozoic.
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Comprehensive Description

Biology

Size
The shell of Lingula anatina can grow up to 5-6cm in length, whilst the pedicle is much longer and can attain lengths of 10-15cm.

Shell
The organophosphatic shell of Lingula is the primitive condition for the Brachiopoda and as such represents one of the first innovations in biomineralization by any animal. The shell itself has a high organic component along with the inorganic phosphatic component.

Life expectancy
The potential lifespan of Lingula is not well known, however it could be surprisingly long; captive brachiopods are known to live to be up to 20 years old.

Reproduction
Lingula anatina reproduces by dispersal spawning. Gametes are released into the water column by the different sexes. It is unknown what, if any, factors regulate this. However it is thought that it might be tidally or seasonally regulated.The larvae have a long pelagic phase; up to and over 6 weeks. Though this phase may not last this long, settlement and pseudometamorphosis takes place and the larvae matures into the full adult form. Not much is known about the factors influencing this phase of the Lingula lifecycle.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat distribution



Habitat
Lingula anatina tends to be restricted to littoral and sub-littoral environments.The substrate can vary widely from estuarine mudflats to fine sands to environments rich in coral reef debris.In all cases, Lingula anatina has an infaunal lifestyle.

Distribution
The geographic distribution of modern Lingula is restricted to:
  • Australasia
  • Indian Ocean rim
  • North-west Africa
  • Japan
  • China
Fossil forms however were far more widespread and have an almost global distribution.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Behaviour

Like all other brachiopods, L. anatina is a suspension feeder; utilising a soft, ciliated, fleshy ribbon-like structure to filter food particles from the water column. This structure (called a lophophore) is coiled within the two valves (shells) of the animal.L. anatina lives in vertical burrows in soft substrates, generally in littoral environments. The animal itself also lives in a vertical position with the anterior edge of the shell at the sediment-water interface. Cilia at the edge of the valves are formed into three distinct regions in order to create separate inhalant and exhalant psuedosiphons to aid the movement of water through the shell cavity to maximise feeding efficiency.If L. anatina becomes uncovered it is able to rebury itself and form a new burrow. It does this by making use of opening and closing movements of the two valves along with lateral shear movements to burrow its way back down into the sediment. In order to achieve the correct orientation again in the burrow, it digs a U-shaped burrow so that its anterior is uppermost in the ascending limb.The infaunal lifestyle of L. anatina ensures that predation significantly reduced, the most notable predator of modern lingulids is man. In the Far East they are dug up during low tides and the pedicle is eaten under the name of ‘sea bamboo shoots’.
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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

There is currently a lot of research into the origins of the brachiopoda.Some genetic studies show that they are very closely related to the Phoronida and therefore may share a common ancestor with them. Other similar studies show that the phoronids are actually a naked brachiopod. Other current research is slowly piecing together the ancestors of the brachiopods and offering insights into how their unique morphology evolved and from what type or organism it did so from.Linguliformean brachiopods appear at the base of the Cambrian (some 530 million years ago) and represent the first certain appearance of brachiopods in the fossil record.Within the fossil record there are hints that their behaviour has changed; some fossil from China suggest that they may not always have been infaunal, instead resting on the sediment surface. In addition, the habitat they are found in varies quite considerably from estuaries to deep sea settings.Within the Linguloidea there is exceptional morphological conservatism; ligulids from the base of the Cambrian right through the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and up to the modern day are very similar in their external appearance.It has often been said that lingula is a living fossil in a similar manner to the modern Coelocanth (Latimeria chalumnae). This has all been based upon the external and sometime internal shell morphology.It is only recently that soft tissue morphology of lower Palaeozoic fossil has come to light from exceptionally preserved specimens found in China. The soft tissue in these 500 million year old species shows that although the external shell morphology has remained remarkably consistent, the soft tissue morphology and anatomy has undergone some major changes.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Lingula anatina

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 7 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CATCGCTGATTAAAATCGGTAAATCATAAGGATATTGGAACTATTTATTTATATATGGGACTTTGATCTGGGGTGTTTGGTCTCAGGTTAAGGCACTGTATACGAATTGAGCTAAGCCACCCCGGCGAGTGACTTCAAGTT---GGGTATATGTACCATAGAATTATGACCATACATGCTTTTATGATGATTTTTTTTTTTGTTATGCCTACAAGAATTGGGGGACTAGGAAACTGGTTTATTCCATTAATAATTAAAATTAAAGATTTGTCTATACCTCGATTAAATAACCTAAGAGTGTGACTGGCATTAGGGTCATTATTTCTTATGTGTATGGCTTTTTTAAGAAGAGGAGGATTAGGTTGTGGTTGAACTATATATCCACCCCTTAGGAATAGGGAGTTTATAGATGGATTACCTATTGATTTGGCAGTATTTTCTCTCCATATAGCAGGAATATCATCAATTGCTGGAAGTATTAACTTTCTGGTAACTATTTTCAATATACGCATAGGAGCTCTTTTTTTCATGAGGTTGCCAATACTAATTTGGACTTTATTCGGAACATCAATTCTTTTAGTTACATCAGTTCCTGTGTTGGCTGCAGGTTTAACCTTACTCCTGTTAGATCGCCACTTTAGGACTAGGTTTTATTACCCTGAGGGTGGTGGTGATCCAATTCTCTGGCAGCATTTGTTTTGATTTTTTGGTCACCCAGAAGTGTATATTCTAATTTTGCCTGCTTTTGGGGTAATTTCCCATATCTTATGTCGTTCTTCGGCTAAACTTCATGTATTTGGAAAAATTGGGATGAGATGGGCTAGAATAGGAATTGCTTGAATAGGATTTCTTGTTTGGGGGCATCATATATTTGTAGCAGGTTTAGATATTGATACACGAG
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lingula anatina

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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