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Short description: Class of thorny-headed worms

Acanthocephala Rhadinorhynchus 2.jpg
Proboscis of a Rhadinorhynchus species
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Acanthocephala
Class: Palaeacanthocephala
Meyer, 1931
Two paleoacanthocephalans, Heterosentis mongcai Amin, Heckmann & Ha, 2014 and Filisoma indicum Van Cleave, 1928

Palaeacanthocephala ("ancient thornheads") is a class within the phylum Acanthocephala. The adults of these parasitic platyzoans feed mainly on fish, aquatic birds and mammals. This order is characterized by the presence of lateral longitudinal lacunar canals and a double-walled proboscis receptacle.[1] The nuclei of the hypodermis (outer layer of skin) are fragmented and the males have two to seven cement glands, unlike their relatives the Archiacanthocephala which always have eight.

There are three orders in the class Palaeacanthocephala:[2]


  1. Bursey, C. R., Goldberg, S. R., & Kraus, F. (2007). New family, new genus, new species of Acanthocephala (Echinorhynchida) from the lizard, Sphenomorphus granulatus (Sauria: Scincidae), from Papua New Guinea. Open Parasitology Journal, 1, 41-44. Found at:

See also Wikidata entry Q134946.