Higher classification Cycloneuralia
Scientific name Scalidophora
|Lower classifications Priapulida, Kinorhyncha|
Armored kinorhynch like scalidophoran animals from the early cambrian
Scalidophora is a group of marine pseudocoelomate protostomes, consisting of the three phyla Kinorhyncha, Priapulida, and Loricifera. The three phyla have four characters in common — chitinous cuticle that is moulted, rings of scalids on the introvert, flosculi, and two rings of introvert retracts. Their closest relatives are thought to be the Panarthropoda, Nematoda and Nematomorpha; they are thus placed in the group Ecdysozoa.
The group has also been considered a single group, Cephalorhyncha, with three classes.
The group is named after the spines (scalids) covering the introvert (head that can be retracted into the trunk).