- A former phylum of the Metazoa that included the class Nematoda and a disparate assortment of other pseudocelomates, each now accorded separate phylum status; they are nonsegmented, bilaterally symmetric, and cylindric or filiform, with a pseudocele body cavity and rounded or pointed ends; they vary considerably in size, and the male is usually smaller than the female.
* * *Asc·hel·min·thes .ask-.(h)el-'min-.thēz n pl in some classifications a phylum of pseudocoelomate animals including the major taxa Rotifera, Gastrotricha, Kinorhyncha, Nematoda, Nematomorpha, and sometimes the Acanthocephala all of which are sometimes regarded as independent phyla
* * *Asc·hel·min·thes (ask″həl-minthґēz) a phylum of unsegmented, bilaterally symmetrical, pseudocoelomate, mostly wormlike animals whose bodies are almost entirely covered with a cuticle; they and possess a complete digestive tract that lacks definite muscular walls. The phylum includes the classes Gastrotricha, Kinorhyncha, Nematoda, Nematomorpha, and Rotifera.
Medical dictionary. 2011.