astome

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astome

any uniformly ciliated protozoan of the order Astomatida, commonly found in annelid worms and other invertebrates. As the name implies, this parasite has no mouth. Some astomes attach themselves to their hosts by suckers; others use various types of hooks or barbs. Asexual reproduction is by transverse fission. In some cases, chains of individuals form by repeated fission without separation of the cells. The sexual phenomenon of conjugation (nuclear exchange between individuals) also occurs. Representative genera are Cepedietta, which lives in the amphibian digestive system, and Radiophrya, an elongated parasite of various oligochaetes.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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