PORT PHILLIP BAY


Mosquito worm 

Myrianida Milne Edwards, 1845

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 small, Usually less than 10mm in length, or large, usually greater than 10mm in length. Reproduction method schizogamous reproduction. Palps fused at base or palps fused for at least half their lengths, but not completely or palps completely fused (or at most with terminal cleft or dorsal crease). Antennae present, slender and cirriform, smooth, or at most, wrinkled. Tentacular cirri present, two pairs. Eversible pharynx coiled or sinuous, with tooth/teeth, with a series of teeth (trepan); Anterior margin of smooth (sometimes with soft papillae); Comments on pharynx armature: at the specific level the most reliable character is the detailed structure of the trepan, which must be dissected if it is to be seen clearly. Nuchal organs as flattened epaulettes. Occipital flap absent. Segmental ciliary bands present on every segment, or absent. Dorsal cirri on first chaetiger only or present on all chaetigers. Ventral cirri absent. Bayonet-shaped simple chaetae present (only in some Autolytinae), or absent.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Annelida
Class:
Polychaeta
Order:
Phyllodocida
Family:
Syllidae
Subfamily:
Autolytinae
Genus:
Myrianida

General Description

In members of this genus the pharynx has single to multiple sinuations anterior and lateral to proventricle and the trepan has various types of denticulation, arranged in 1 ring. Body up to about 6 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. Myrianida sp. is one of a number of species now being described by taxonomists.

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

6 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

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, Myrianida , in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 25 Sep 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/11168

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