Welcome to Macrostomorpha

This site is intended as an online repository for taxonomic and phylogenetic information on the Macrostomorpha, a basal group of free-living flatworms, with particular emphasis for the genus Macrostomum. According to current molecular phylogenies the Macrostomorpha are the most basal taxon of the Rhabditophora, which encompass all free-living flatworms (except for the Catenulida) and all the parasitic flatworms.

One problem with these (and many other) free-living flatworms, is that they are tiny and fragile creatures. They are often only 1mm long and one therefore cannot usually perform DNA sequence analyses and have a complete physical reference specimen at the same time (as entire worms, or at least substantial parts of worms, have to be used for DNA extraction).

Detailed photomicrographic documentation of the still living worms can serve as an excellent reference of a sequenced specimen. In contrast, the classically deposited reference specimens are serial sections on slides, which are informative for detailed anatomical studies, but which are neither suitable for genetic analyses, nor useful for species identification in the field. We therefore think that detailed photomicrographic documentation, appropriately organised, annotated and accessible through the web, will usually be much more informative for the general biologist who encounters these creatures.

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