PORT PHILLIP BAY


Eunicid worm 

Eunice bassensis Mcintosh, 1885

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Family level description.
Eunicidae are common, widespread and diverse polychaetes characterised by having complex jaws of multiple pairs of maxillae and a pair of ventral mandibles; the anterior end has paired cushion-like structures (actually dorsal lips) and beaded prostomial appendages (antennae + palps) which may be 1, 3 or 5 in total number. Some have prominent comb-like gills on mid-body chaetigers. Dorsal chaetal bundles are absent; ventral bundles have capillaries, acicular hooks, compound hooks, and combs. These are robust, muscular, active, long-lived carnivores or scavengers found in a variety of habitats.

Species level technical description.
Prostomium bilobed, slightly to deeply notched. Number of prostomial appendages 5 - one median antenna and a pair of lateral antennae, plus a pair of palps (in lateral-most position). Without articulations. Peristomial (tentacular) cirri present. Branchiae present, pectinate, distinctly longer than notopodial cirri, reduced in mid-body region. Maximum number of branchial filaments 9, 0 posterior chaetigers with single branchial filaments, stems erect. Present to near posterior end. Median acicular lobes distally truncate. With acicula emerging at midline. Posterior prechaetal lobes form low transverse folds. Posterior postchaetal lobes form low transverse folds. Ventral cirri of posterior segments digitiform, without basal inflation. Posterior notopodial (dorsal) cirri tapering, Notopodial (dorsal) cirri articulated throughout body. Pectinate chaetae present. Compound (composite) falcigers present, Appendages of compound falcigers distally bidentate, Hoods of compound falcigers distally without mucros (rounded). Pseudocompound falcigers absent. Compound spinigers absent. Aciculae light yellow or translucent, acicular cores and sheaths indistinctly separated, rounded in cross-section, distally pointed (sharp or blunt). Subacicular hooks present, light yellow or translucent, cores and sheaths indistinctly separated, tridentate, with teeth in a crest.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Annelida
Class:
Polychaeta
Order:
Eunicida
Family:
Eunicidae
Genus:
Eunice
Species:
bassensis

General Description

In members of this genus there are 5 prostomial appendages (antennae + palps) and one pair of tentacular cirri on the peristomial segment. Branchiae commence on 5, continue for the remainder of the body and have a maximum of 8 filaments each but 3 short filaments by about chaetiger 50. Maxilla II has 5 teeth. The separation of the two peristomial rinks is distinct on all sides (unlike Eunice antennata). Recorded up to 15 cm, probably grows longer.

Biology

These worms are muscular, active, long-lived carnivores.

Habitat

Estuaries, embayments, continental shelf, sand, mud and weed beds, to depth of 80 m.

Reefs

Soft substrates

Seagrass meadows

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Worms Eunicid worms

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

15 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Species Code

MoV 307

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, Eunicid worm, Eunice bassensis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 16 Dec 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7460

Text: creative commons cc by licence