The Metazoa form two main branches; one, Parazoa, is but a small unproductive stock comprising only the Phylum Porifera or Sponges; the other, the great stem of the animal series Enterozoa, gives rise to a large number of diverging Phyla which it is necessary to assign to two levels or grades - a lower, Enterocoela (often called Coelentera), and a higher, Coelomocoela (often called Coelomata).
(9th edit.), even though their numbers have been reduced by the elevation of the Sponges or Porifera to the rank of an independent Phylum under the title Parazoa (W.
The Coelentera, as contrasted with other Metazoa (but not Parazoa), consist of two layers of cells only, an outer layer or ectoderm, an inner layer or endoderm.
A second essential difference between Coelentera and other Metazoa (except Parazoa) is that in the former all spaces in the interior of the body are referable to a single cavity of endodermal origin, the "gas*ro-vascular cavity," often termed the coelenteron: the spaces are always originally continuous with one another, and are in almost every case permanently so.