Acoels are perhaps the simplest bilateral animals in the world!
They were initially thought to be flatworms, but molecular research shows their evolutionary roots probably date back to a time before flatworms ever existed.
Even as flatworms they were always quite strange. They have no gut, no kidney-like organs to help excrete waste and no gonads. The cells they use to create eggs and sperm are simply littered about in their internal tissue.
Their remarkable lack of organs hasn’t stopped them gaining success. They can be found relaxing on tropical corals, feasting on the bits of food they find on the surface. Some provide homes for brown, green or red algae and gain nourishment from them. Many crawl around between grains of sand on the sea floor.
Most impressively, there are some who live within cracks and channels within Arctic ice, seeking out algae to feed on.
So much for organs.
MIley Cyrus for Vogue Germany
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