Group of organisms / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Holozoa is a group of organisms that includes animals and their closest single-celled relatives, but excludes fungi. Holozoa is also an old name for the tunicate genus Distaplia.
|Orange elephant ear sponge, Agelas clathrodes, in foreground. Two corals in the background: a sea fan, Iciligorgia schrammi, and a sea rod, Plexaurella nutans.|
Lang et al., 2002
Because Holozoa is a clade including all organisms more closely related to animals than to fungi, some authors prefer it to recognizing paraphyletic groups that mostly consists of Holozoa minus animals.
Perhaps the best-known holozoans, apart from animals, are the choanoflagellates, which strongly resemble the collar cells of sponges, and so were theorized to be related to sponges even in the 19th century. Proterospongia is an example of a colonial choanoflagellate that may shed light on the origin of sponges.
The affinities of the other single-celled holozoans only began to be recognized in the 1990s. The sub-classification Ichthyosporea or Mesomycetozoea contains a number of mostly parasitic species. The amoeboid genera Ministeria and Capsaspora may be united in a group called Filasterea by the structure of their thread-like pseudopods. Along with choanoflagellates, filastereans may be closely related to animals, and one analysis grouped them together as the clade Filozoa.