Lancelet

LanceletThe lancelet also known as the amphioxus (scientific name: Branchiostoma lanceolatum) is a species which is found mostly towards the south and west of the British Isles. They are a strange animal with a slim, semi-transparent body which allows its intermal organs to be visible. The usual length is 5 to 6cm. A single eye-spot is visible on the head area there is a rudimentary tail at the other end of the body. Small cirri (tentacles) are located around the mouth area. They bury themselves in sand or soft mud or light gravel seabeds and filter feed on suspended sediment or detritus which passes. As an invertebrate chordate (an animal which has a notochord but no vertebrae) the lancelet is of immense interest to scientists as they are thought to be an important evolutionary step into how vertebrate chordates evolved. In some Asian countries this species is utilised as a source of feed in aquaculture.

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