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Global diversity of hairworms (Nematomorpha: Gordiaceae) in freshwater

Authors:George Poinar

Abstract:Freshwater hairworms (Gordiaceae) and marine hairworms (Nectonematoidea) comprise the phylum Nematomorpha. Only the freshwater forms are discussed here. While freshwater hairworms develop as parasites of both aquatic and terrestrial arthropods, they all enter fresh water to mate, oviposit and produce infective stages (preparasitic larvae). The global species diversity of freshwater hairworms based on published descriptions is approximately 326 species and a conservative estimate for the global species diversity in this group would be around 2,000 species.

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