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Cephalochordates (Biotic Group)

Component: Biotic

Unique Identifier: 1284

Biotic Setting Benthic/Attached Biota
Biotic Class Faunal Bed
Biotic Subclass Soft Sediment Fauna
Biotic Group Cephalochordates
Biotic Community Amphioxus Bed
Branchiostoma Bed

Definition Soft-sediment areas (typically sandy) that are dominated by the rapidly burrowing, fish-like Amphioxus, or by other similar Genera of the subphylum Cephalochordata, a group of animals with characteristics of both vertebrates and invertebrates. These small (typically 2 - 15 centimeters in length) slender animals live buried just under the surface of sandy sediments. They feed on plankton or detritus that is strained from the water with a specialized feeding apparatus. Amphioxus and the related Genera have a worldwide distribution, and may occur in very high densities in some areas.