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Flatworms   (Platyhelminthes)
Category: Invertebrates



The structure of flatworms (flat) reflects their physiology – they have no body cavity other than a gut in most cases and rely on diffusion for respiration. Traditional zoology texts have divided this phylum into Turbellaria (Planarians) and three parasitic groups: Cestoda (tapeworms), Trematoda (flukes), and Monogenea (fish parasites), though scientific articles may present a more phylogenetically nuanced picture. For example, recent molecular research suggests that Turbellarians may have arisen polyphyletically (from two independent groups from different ancestral groups). Parasitic flatworms are a significant public health concern worldwide but are sometimes employed for beneficial purposes, such as controlling mosquito and invasive snail populations.




Data & Facts

Scientific Classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Platyhelminthes
Class - Cestoda
Class - Monogenea
Class - Trematoda
Class - Turbellaria

Did you know?
Interesting Animal Facts

Rub some dirt on it!

Could it be we have been too good at ridding our bodies of parasitic worms? Believe it or not, our efforts at keeping squeaky-clean and sanitary in the developed world may be contributing to increased allergies, asthma, psoriasis, even autoimmune diseases. The human immune system, having evolved with parasitic worms, recognizes them, and has learned to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing when these tiny intruders are sensed. While getting worms may be seen as too high a price to pay for many, for people suffering from severe allergies or colitis, it may be worth it. Victims of multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease have shown a promising reduction in symptoms (even remission in Crohn’s) after ingesting whipworm eggs - a treatment that may be worth it to some until a cure is found!

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