PORT PHILLIP BAY


Scaleworm 

Paralepidonotus ampulliferus (Grube, 1878)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Family level description.
Polynoidae are predators in which the dorsal cirri of an alternating series of segments are modified to form scales which lie flat covering the top of the worm and make two rows like overlapping tiles on a roof. The scales (elytrae) are typically pigmented and/or pigmented in distinctive, species-specific patterns. The commonly-observed shallow water species are mostly short-bodied, often with a fixed number of segments and elytrae. Anteriorly the prostomium and appendages are varied but generally a a pair of large conical palps and pairs of antennae and tentacular cirri can be seen (although the anterior-most scales usually have to be removed to reveal these structures). The muscular eversible pharynx, if dissected, can be seen to have two pairs of jaws that close in a vertical plane. Chaetae are generally numerous and conspicuous, always simple (compound chaetae are absent) and ornamented with a diverse array of spines, teeth and other gothic ornaments.

Species level technical description.
Elytrae number 15 pairs. Elytra present on chaetigers 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23; and on 26 (29), (32), (35). Last pair on the expected chaetiger; present to posterior end ( 3 or fewer segments without elytrae), or last 4-6 segments without elytrae; Elytrae covering body completely. Elytral coloration: Grey. Elytral surface ornamentation present as microtubercles, or present as macrotubercles. Distal end of microtubercles simple; soft-walled, or hard-walled. Conical, or chisel-shaped. Not isolated in individual fields; Basic shapes sessile mounds, pustules, cushions, or ovate papillae. Sessile macrotubercles multiple smaller pustules or mounds; multiple mounds or pustules simple, soft pustules. Elytral pockets absent. Free margin with soft papillae (fimbriae). Elytrae flat or undulating.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Annelida
Class:
Polychaeta
Order:
Phyllodocida
Family:
Polynoidae
Genus:
Paralepidonotus
Species:
ampulliferus

General Description

In members of this genus there are 15 pairs of elytrae and 38-41 segments. This species has elytrae with distinctive dark droplet-shaped macrotubercles scattered on a finer felt of microtubercles. Body up to about 5 cm long.

Biology

These worms are predators.

Habitat

Port Phillip Bay and other similar coastal habitat, inshore and continental shelf.

Reefs

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Worms Scaleworms

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

5 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Species Code

MoV 728

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Wilson, R.

Robin Wilson is a Senior Curator of marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Wilson, R., 2011, Scaleworm, Paralepidonotus ampulliferus, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 19 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/11156

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