PORT PHILLIP BAY


Ragworm 

Neanthes vaalii Kinberg, 1866

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Family level description.
Nereididae are polychaetes with many uniform segments, without strongly differentiated body regions. The prostomium (head) has one pair of antennae, one pair of articulated palps, and two pairs of eyes. Four pairs of unjointed cirri emerge from the next segment behind the prostomium. Mouthparts comprise an eversible pharynx with one pair of terminal jaws, although these are usually only visible by dissection.

Species level technical description.Prostomium with entire anterior margin. Area I conical paragnaths: 1-4; II: 7-17; III: 19-28; IV: 16-33 paragnaths. Area V: 1-3 (usually 3); VI: 3-5; VII-VIII: 37-59. Dorsal notopodial ligule not markedly elongate on posterior chaetigers. Not markedly broader on posterior chaetigers. Dorsal notopodial ligule not markedly reduced on posterior chaetigers. Prechaetal notopodial lobe present. Dorsal cirrus not terminally attached to dorsal notopodial ligule on posterior chaetigers. Dorsal cirrus length about 2 times ventral notopodial ligule at chaetiger 10-20. Neuropodial postchaetal lobe absent. Ventral neuropodial ligule on posterior chaetigers similar to length of acicular neuropodial ligule. Ventral cirri single. Notopodial homogomph spinigers present. Notopodial homogomph falcigers absent. Neuropodial dorsal fascicle fused falcigers absent.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Annelida
Class:
Polychaeta
Order:
Phyllodocida
Family:
Nereididae
Genus:
Neanthes
Species:
vaalii

General Description

In members of this genus paragnaths are generally present in most areas of the eversible pharynx; Area VI has cones only (no bars, as are present in Perinereis spp). Notochaetae are only spinigers (short-bladed chaetae are absent from the dorsal bundle of chaetae, and simple chaetae with fused articulation are absent ventrally). This species can be distinguished from the other common local on sheltered rocky shores by having a circular cluster of conical paragnaths on either side of the dorsal part of the eversible pharynx (Area VI). A somewhat similar and equally common species Perinereis vallata occurs here, but in that species Area VI has a pair of rows of short bars arranged in two long arcs. Body up to about 5 cm long.

Biology

One of the most common Nereididae species on sheltered coasts in a variety of habitats, wherever algae occur.

Habitat

Rocky shores on sheltered coasts, in algal turf, among mussels, and similar substrates. Usually intertidal, occasionally to depeth of 10 m or more.

Coastal shores

Reefs

Seagrass meadows

Distribution guide

South-eastern Australia, or south-western Australia.

Species Group

Worms Ragworms

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

5 cm

Commercial Species

No

Species Code

MoV 1069

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, Ragworm, Neanthes vaalii, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 25 Sep 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7541

Text: creative commons cc by licence