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 reference specimen at the same time (as entire worms are frequently used for DNA extraction).

Detailed photomicrographic documentation of the still living worm can serve as a suitable reference left of a sequenced specimen. In contrast, the classical 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.