Bamboo worm 

Praxillella sp. 1

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Family level description.
Maldanidae are burrowing worms in which the midbody segments are strongly elongate, hence the common name "bamboo worms". The head is a flattened or obliquely truncate sometimes forming a flattened oval at the anterior end (termed a cephalic plaque), often with a marginal raised flange, and lacks appendages. The eversible pharynx lacks hard parts. The pygidium (anal end) frequently has a flower-like structure of variously formed radially-arranged soft lobes. Chaetae include hair-like simple capillaries and hooks with a terminal "beard" of subdistal hairs.

Species level technical description.
Complete specimens comprising 18-19 chaetigers. Cephalic plaque absent. Cephalic keel long, high, well developed; rim with marginal flange present. Nuchal slits short. Nuchal slits straight, parallel. Prostomial palpode present. Chaetiger 1 with collar. Distinct membranous collar on anterior margin of chaetiger 4 present. Encircling collars on posterior segments present. First chaetiger with noto- and neurochaetae. Acicular neuropodial spines on anterior chaetigers absent. Present in first 3 chaetigers. Spirally fringed notochaetae present. Rostrate uncini present, present in all chaetigers, present as a double row. Pre-anal achaetigerous segment(s) absent. Pygidium well developed, Anus terminal, Anal plaque absent, Margin without crenulations. Anus with marginal cirri, some anal cirri longer than others, ventral cirrus/cirri longer than other anal cirri, Ventral anal cirri include a single elongate ventral cirrus much longer than other cirri. Anal cone present, projecting well beyond the rim of the anal plaque, symmetrically developed. Anal valve present.



General Description

In members of this genus a prostomial palpode and anal cone are both present. Body up to about 5-10 cm long.


There has been little taxonomic study of Maldanidae in Australian waters; the family is undoubtedly diverse here and many species remain to be discovered and described. Specimens need to be complete to enable all important characters to be described (fragments are often unidentifiable).


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

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

South-eastern Australia.

Species Group

Worms Bamboo worms


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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

10 cm

Commercial Species


Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Species Code

sp. 1


Conservation Status

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


article author Wilson, R.

Robin Wilson is a Senior Curator of marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.


Cite this page as:
Wilson, R., 2011, Bamboo worm, Praxillella , in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 12 Jul 2020,

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