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 The phylum Mollusca is typically

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PostSubject: The phylum Mollusca is typically   Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:26 pm

The Mollusca, common name molluscs or mollusks,[note 1] is a large phylum of invertebrate animals. There are around 85,000 recognized extant species of molluscs. This is the largest marine phylum, comprising about 23% of all the named marine organisms. Numerous molluscs also live in freshwater and terrestrial habitats. Molluscs are highly diverse, not only in size and in anatomical structure, but also in behaviour and in habitat.

The phylum Mollusca is typically divided into nine or ten taxonomic classes, of which two are extinct. The gastropods (snails and slugs) include by far the most classified species, accounting for 80% of the total. Cephalopod molluscs such as squid, cuttlefish and octopus are among the most neurologically advanced invertebrates. Either the giant squid or the colossal squid is the largest known species of animal without a backbone.

The two most universal features of the body structure of molluscs are a mantle with a significant cavity used for breathing and excretion, and the organization of the nervous system. Because of the great range of anatomical diversity, many textbooks base their descriptions on a hypothetical "generalized mollusc", with features common to many but not all classes within the Mollusca.
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