Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Freshwater, parasitic, soft-bodied, flattened animal characterized by bilateral symmetry. The phylum Platyhelminthes contains about 15,000 species and includes the planaria (Turbellaria), flukes (Trematoda) and tapeworms (Cestoda). Flatworms are significant parasites, frequently causing death in children (see schistosomiasis) and furthermore, absorb substantial quantities of nutrients, resulting in undernutrition and/or malnutrition of the host.

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