lophophore(redirected from Lophophorates)
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The crown of tentacles which surrounds the mouth in the Bryozoa, Phoronida, and Brachiopoda. The numerous ciliated tentacles arise from a circular or horseshoe-shaped fold of the body wall. The tentacles are hollow outgrowths of the body wall, each containing fluid-filled extensions of the body cavity and extended hydraulically. The primary function of the lophophore is to gather food. On the tentacles are ciliary tracts which drive a current of food-particle-bearing water through the lophophore. While the lophophore is primarily a feeding organ, it may also play a role in reproduction, respiration, and larval locomotion. See Brachiopoda, Bryozoa, Phoronida