Four phyla, the Bryozoa, Entoprocta, Phoronida and Brachiopoda, possess a tentaculate, food catching organ called a lophophore. These animals are all sessile, with a reduced head, a protective covering and, except for the brachiopods, a U-shaped gut. Although often grouped together the four phyla may not be closely related: the Bryozoa and Entoprocta appear close to the protostome line of evolution; the Phoronida and Brachiopoda to the deuterostome line. Their common features may result from a sessile way of life and be due in part to convergent evolution.
From our point of view, these animals have another feature in common. Professor J. H. Ashworth was very interested in them: he collected phoronids in Canada, brachiopod larvae on his way to and from Australia and Bryozoa from all over Britain. These last two panels form a small tribute to the man who worked so hard to gather and house the collection of inverterates and vertebrates described in this web-site.