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Leptocardii or Leptocardia (from the Greek leptos, small + kardia, the heart)[1] is a class within the phylum Chordata.[2] Webster (1913) defines it as:

The lowest class of Vertebrata, including only the Amphioxus. The heart is represented only by a simple pulsating vessel. The blood is colorless; the brain, renal organs, and limbs are wanting, and the backbone is represented only by a simple, unsegmented notochord.[1]

Currently the class is assigned to the subphylum Cephalochordata, treated as a sister subphylum to the vertebrates within the phylum Chordata.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b Definition of Leptocardii from the Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 on the Online Dictionary
  2. ^ Classification of Class: Leptocardii - Ocean Biogeographic Information System: Canadian Museum of Nature (OBIS Canada)
  3. ^ MarBEF Data System - ERMS - Leptocardii
  4. ^ WoRMS (World Register of Marine Species) - Leptocardii


van der Land, J. (2001). Cephalochordata. In: Costello, M.J. et al. (eds.), European register of marine species: a check-list of the marine species in Europe and a bibliography of guides to their identification. Collection Patrimoines Naturels, 50: 357.

Margulis, L. and Schwartz, K.V. (1982). Five Kingdoms: an illustrated guide to the phyla of life on earth. Second edition. New York: Freeman. 3rd edition (1998): ISBN 0-7167-3027-8. 520 pp.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913).


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