PORT PHILLIP BAY


Pycnogonid 

Parapallene australiensis (Hoek, 1881)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Family level characters.
TRUNK: Elongate with widely spaced lateral processes or compact with lateral processes touching.
ABDOMEN: Typically short, inflated.
EYES: 4-8.
PROBOSCIS: Variable but usually short.
SCAPES: 1 or 2-segmented.
CHELAE: Full functional and often robust.
PALPS: Typically lacking but maybe present with 1 to 4 segments, often sexually dimorphic.
OVIGERS: Typically 10-segmented, rarely 9 segmented, with apophysis on 5th segment, strigilis, terminal claw present or absent.
LEGS: Eight legs only, long or short.
TARSUS: shorter than propodus.
AUXILIARY CLAWS: Present or absent.
CEMENT GLAND(S): If present, on ventral femora but seldom evident.
GENITAL PORES: second coxae of all legs of female, either legs 3 & 4 or all legs of male .

Genus level characters.
TRUNK: Neck usually long. Ocular tubercle on posterior half. Lateral processes often
widely separated.
ABDOMEN: short to moderately short, erect.
EYES: 4, pigmented.
PROBOSCIS: tip truncate, lips projecting.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Subphylum:
Cheliceriformes
Class:
Pycnogonida
Order:
Pantopoda
Family:
Callipallenidae
Genus:
Parapallene
Species:
australiensis

Other Names

  • Sea spider

General Description

Body with proboscis projecting outward from front, with the mouth at the tip. Central body (trunk) behind the proboscis, with a raised, rounded area (tubercle) bearing four eyes. Eight segmented walking legs attached to the sides of the trunk. Short abdomen behind trunk. Leg span to 5 cm.

Biology

This species is seasonally abundant in Westernport Bay where reproduction appears to be correlated with the fertile stage of the host hydroid. Egg-bearing males and juveniles are present in October to December when the host hydroid is fertile. The young sea spiders (Protonymphon) hatch on the male and remain there until their third pair of legs is developed. On leaving the male, they gradually change colour to match the host hydroid. Males carry the eggs, holding them between body parts called ovigers that hang under the animal.

Habitat

On hydroids, to depth of 240 m.

Reefs

Distribution guide

New Caledonia and southern and eastern Australia.

Species Group

Sea spiders

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

5 cm

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

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

Author

article author Staples, D.

David Staples is a consultant with expertise in pycnogonid taxonomy.

citation

Cite this page as:
Staples, D., 2011, Pycnogonid, Parapallene australiensis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 18 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6260

Text: creative commons cc by licence