PORT PHILLIP BAY


Sea Centipede 

Pentidotea australis Hale, 1924

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Body moderately broad (about 5 times as long as wide), deeply vaulted, smooth, head narrower than pereonite 1, body only slightly wider at middle. Pleon without articulating pleonites, pleonites 1 and 2 indicated by suture dorsally, 3 ventrolaterally only; pleotelson apically acute. Antenna 2 multiarticulate. Mandible, maxillae 1 and 2 typical. Maxillipedal endite with apical setation; palp digitiform, all articles free. Coxae 2-7 with contiguous articulating, dorsal coxal plates shielding coxal-basal articulation from lateral view. Pereopods with transverse rows of spiniform setae on palm of carpus and propodus. Penes fused at base, on posterior margin of pleonite 1. Oostegites lamellar on pereopods 1-5.

Source: Poore, G.C.B. & Lew Ton, H.M. (1993) Idoteidae of Australia and New Zealand (Crustacea: Isopoda: Valvifera). Invertebrate Taxonomy, 7, 197-278.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Subphylum:
Crustacea
Class:
Malacostraca
Subclass:
Eumalacostraca
Superorder:
Peracarida
Order:
Isopoda
Suborder:
Valvifera
Family:
Idoteidae
Genus:
Pentidotea
Species:
australis

General Description

Body about 4.7 x as long as wide, deeply vaulted, half as deep as wide. Head 1.7 times as wide as long, front convex, rostrum absent. Pereonite 1 as long as head; pereonites 2-7 subequal, longer than dorsal length of pereonite 1. Pleotelson 0.4 times body length, pleonites 1 and 2 indicated by complete dorsal sutures, pleonite 3 by ventrolateral sutures only, pleotelson rigid (pleotelsonic formula 2 + 1). Pleotelson broadest anteriorly, lateral margins evenly tapering to an acute apex. Body up to 6.4 cm long.

Biology

Pentidotea australis is the largest idoteid known from Australia, reaching 64 mm in length. Members of the family Idoteidae are known as sea centipedes but are not at all related to terrestrial centipedes which have many more pairs of legs and never enter the sea. These species belong to one of the few families of herbivorous isopods. They can camouflage themselves according to the colour of the marine algae in which they live.

Habitat

Subtidal algae, to depths to 5 m.

Reefs

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Microcrustaceans Isopods

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

6.4 cm

Diet

Herbivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Conservation Status

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

Author

article author Taylor, J.

Dr. Jo Taylor is the Sciences Collections Online Coordinator at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Poore, G.C.B.

Dr. Gary Poore is Principal Curator Emeritus at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Taylor, J. & Poore, G.C.B., 2011, Sea Centipede, Pentidotea australis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 19 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/5322

Text: creative commons cc by licence