Protochordate “Proto” – prefix meaning “before; preceeding”




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Aquatic Science Phylum Chordata

Unit 9 Notes






  1. Protochordate

  1. Proto” – prefix meaning “before; preceeding”

  2. Chordate” – suffix meaning “having a chord”

  3. Protochordate – organisms known as the “first chordates”; organisms that evolved into chordates



  1. Three Main Characteristics of Chordates

  1. Presence of a Notochord

  2. Presence of a Dorsal Nerve Cord

  3. Presence of Pharyngeal Pouches – opening where water is taken in



  1. General Characteristics of Phylum Chordata

  1. Bilateral Symmetry

  2. Body Segmentation

  3. Endoskeleton

  4. Presence of a Notochord – internal skeletal rod that provides support

(most chordates notochord is replaced by vertebrae during development)

  1. Complete Digestive System

  2. Ventrally located heart

  3. Closed Circulatory System

  4. Some have a tail for part of lifespan



  1. Subphyla of Phylum Chordata

  1. Subphylum Urochordata – “uro” – means tail

  2. Subphylum Cephalochordata – “cephalo”- means head

  3. Subphylum Vertebrata – (has a backbone)

  4. Subphylum Invertebrata – (lacking a backbone)



  1. Major Classes of Phylum Chordata

  1. Class Agnatha

  2. Class Chondrichthyes

  3. Class Osteichtheyes

  4. Class Amphibia

  5. Class Reptilia

  6. Class Aves

  7. Class Mammalia


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