Bilateral - metazoa, Biology

Bilateral - Metazoa

Bilaterally symmetrical animals have the major axis running from head (anterior) to tail (posterior). They have a ventral (lower) and dorsal (upper) surface that are different from each other. They have only two sides that look alike, the right and left. The animal can be divided into just two identical halves through a plane which passes from anterior to posterior end. Almost all animals including human beings except for sponges, ctenophores and cnidarians show bilateral symmetry.

Adult echinoderms, though radially symmetrical (pentamerous) have larvae that are bilateral. This is because they have evolved from bilaterally symmetrical ancestors. In general, bilateral animals that adopt a sessile existence commonly exhibit a shift towards radial symmetry. The shift may be slight as in acorn barnacles where only protective circular wall plates are arranged radially or the shift may be profound as in the case of sea stars or starfishes. Bilateral animals are called Bilateria.

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