PORT PHILLIP BAY


Scaleworm 

Harmothoe charlottae Hutchings & Murray, 1984

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Family level description.
Polynoidae are predators in which the dorsal cirri of an alternating series of segments are modified to form scales which lie flat covering the top of the worm and make two rows like overlapping tiles on a roof. The scales (elytrae) are typically pigmented and/or pigmented in distinctive, species-specific patterns. The commonly-observed shallow water species are mostly short-bodied, often with a fixed number of segments and elytrae. Anteriorly the prostomium and appendages are varied but generally a a pair of large conical palps and pairs of antennae and tentacular cirri can be seen (although the anterior-most scales usually have to be removed to reveal these structures). The muscular eversible pharynx, if dissected, can be seen to have two pairs of jaws that close in a vertical plane. Chaetae are generally numerous and conspicuous, always simple (compound chaetae are absent) and ornamented with a diverse array of spines, teeth and other gothic ornaments.

Species level technical description.
Elytrae number 15 pairs. Elytra present on chaetigers 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23; and on 26 (29), (32), (35). Last pair on the expected chaetiger; last 4-6 segments without elytrae; Elytrae covering body completely. Elytral coloration: Pigmented around inner, posterior and outer margins with darker patches on outer border and over elytral scar (often resembling a bull's-eye). Elytral surface ornamentation present as microtubercles, or present as macrotubercles. Distal end of microtubercles simple; soft-walled. Conical. Basic shapes stalked papillae, often dentate. Stalked macrotubercles distally mushroom-shaped with heavily dentate heads. Elytral pockets absent. Free margin with soft papillae (fimbriae), or with spiny papillae. Elytrae flat or undulating.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Annelida
Class:
Polychaeta
Order:
Phyllodocida
Family:
Polynoidae
Genus:
Harmothoe
Species:
charlottae

General Description

In members of this genus there are 15 pairs of elytrae and 25-37 segments. In this species there are generally darker patches of pigmentation on outer border of the elytrae and "bullseye-like" over central area of the elytral attachment. Body up to about 5 cm long.

Biology

These worms are predators.

Habitat

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

Reefs

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Worms Scaleworms

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

5 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Species Code

MoV 4102

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, Scaleworm, Harmothoe charlottae, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 30 Jun 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7493

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