PORT PHILLIP BAY


Mosquito worm 

Syllinae sp. MoV 535

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Family level description.
Syllidae are extremely common and diverse marine worms which have no common name but might easily be termed "mosquito worms" since their primary adaptation is to have mouthparts comprising a single piercing tooth (trepan) and a muscular gizzard (proventriculus) which are used to pierce and suck out the contents of hydroids, bryozoans and other encrusting prey organisms. The proventriculus has regular transverse bands and is often visible through the body wall and serves to immediately recognise members of the family. The prostomium has a pair of palps and a pair of antennae, sometimes with an additional median antenna. Chaetae often include short-bladed compound forms with a distinctly bidentate tip.

Species level technical description.
Adult size large, Usually greater than 10mm in length. Body shape cylindrical, or dorso-ventrally flattened. Reproduction method schizogamous reproduction. The colour pattern is helpful in fresh specimens, and seems to be very constant in some species. Palps free to base (separate). Antennae present, slender and cirriform. Tentacular cirri present, two pairs. Eversible pharynx straight or folded, with tooth/teeth, with single large mid-dorsal tooth or with a series of teeth (trepan); Anterior margin of smooth (sometimes with soft papillae); Comments on pharynx armature: One of the important characters for species identification in this sub-family is the armature of the pharynx. Nuchal organs as small projecting lobes, or inconspicuous. Occipital flap present, or absent. Segmental ciliary bands absent. Smooth and cirriform or digitiform or articled, jointed, or beaded. Ventral cirri present. Bayonet-shaped simple chaetae absent.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Annelida
Class:
Polychaeta
Order:
Phyllodocida
Family:
Syllidae
Genus:
Syllinae

General Description

Members of this group of genera are characterised by having articulated appendages and free or partially fused palps. Body up to about 1 cm long.

Biology

There are at least 100 species of Syllidae known from Australia and taxonomists are currently describing more species. Most species will require observation of chaetal structures at high magnifications before their identity can be confirmed.

Habitat

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

Reefs

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Worms Mosquito worms

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

1 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Species Code

sp. MoV 535

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, Mosquito worm, Syllinae , in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 30 Jun 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/11165

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