Muus, Bent J. Danish Institute for Fishery and Marine Research, Charlottenlund, Denmark.
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A phylum of parasites consisting of the horsehair worms. Members of the phylum Nematomorpha are closely allied to the nematodes. They are commonly known as the horsehair worms, Gordian worms, hairworms, or wire worms (see illustration). The adults are free-living in aquatic habitats (predominantly freshwater habitats), whereas the juveniles are parasitic in arthropods. The nematomorphs are found all over the world. They are divided into two classes, Nectonematoida and Gordioida, with a total of approximately 350 described species. See also: Arthropoda; Nemata (Nematoda); Parasitology
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