Many metazoans (e.g., mammals, insects, earthworms) have anoxic digestive tracts that are colonized by anaerobic microbes that perform portions of digestion of food for the host. Some other metazoans (e.g., porifera/sponges) rely on intracellular digestion.

I'm wondering, which metazoan taxa (I suppose we can keep it at phyla level) host digestion that is aided by anaerobic microbes, which do not, and are there any that have digestive tracts that host aerobic microbes instead (though that seems unlikely since they'd likely completely consume the food for themselves)?

We could start by addressing a partial list of the most well described metazoan phyla (plus a few of particular interest to me). Perhaps no one will have the knowledge/expertise for each of these phyla - in which case we could have a community answer that is built on over time.

  1. porifera- sponges
  2. cnidarea - jellyfish, corals and sea animals
  3. platyhelminthes- flatworms
  4. nematoda- round worms
  5. rotifera- worm-like animals
  6. bryozoa- small aquatic animals
  7. brachiopoda- lamp shells
  8. phoronida- tubeworms
  9. anelida- segmented worms
  10. mollusca- soft bodied animals including chitons, snails
  11. arthropoda- insects and others with hard, segmented bodies
  12. echinodermata- starfish
  13. hemichordata- acorn worms
  14. chordata- primarily vertebrates
  15. placozoa - simplest non-parasitic multi-cellular animals
  16. Ctenophora - comb jellies
  17. tardigrada - water bears
  18. loricifera - tiny shelled sediment dwelling animals
  • $\begingroup$ Too broad... should be closed. $\endgroup$ – AMR Nov 7 '15 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ I have added a list of specific phyla to make the question more narrow. It may require multiple answers over some time to fully answer this question and I plan to help by researching and adding answers for some of the phyla. I could open a separate question for each phyla, but that seems inefficient. $\endgroup$ – DirtStats Nov 10 '15 at 18:43

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