NIWA Guide to Polychaeta | Shore polychaetes | Shell polychaetes
Shell worm Dodecaceria berkeleyi Cirratulidae (cirratulid/sphagetti worm)
Terebellida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
Dodecaceria  berkeleyi  Knox, 1971.   Family Cirratulidae  
     Dodecaceria berkeleyi from Haliotis iris shell
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 Identification tips:    One pair of grooved palps alongside three pairs of long palp-like anterior branchia. Distinctive colour pattern(s) present; dark green to yellow. Parapodial lobes absent.
 Habitat: Marine shelf. Known from mollusc shell. In gastropods. In self-created shell-borings, or in abandoned shell-borings. Recorded from living shells of New Zealand commercial shellfish: Atrina pectinata, Haliotis iris. Tube lining absent. Tube chimney absent.
 Nomenclature: Genus Dodecaceria in Family Cirratulidae. Dodecaceria berkeleyi. Described by Knox, published in 1971, as Dodecaceria berkeleyi. Type locality: New Zealand, Kaiteriteri. Other synonyms: none recorded
 Description:  Head region: Three (3-4) pairs of annulated branchiate on first 3 segments with one pair of grooved palps on first segment (chaetae absent). Prostomium conical, without a caruncle. Colouration: Variable, ranging from light orange to dark green, palps green, branchiae red to orange. Branchiae, chaetae, and pygidium: Branchiae adjoining parapodia absent after segment three. Parapodial lobes absent. Eyes absent. First 8 chaetigers with capillary chaetae, absent on variable number of following chaetigers then present in post body. Spoon-tipped simple hooks present from 10th chaetiger in both notopodium and neuropodium.
 Dimensions: Length 18 mm. Width 1 mm. Segment total 80. Palps short.
 Reproduction: Dodecaceria berkeleyi reproduces asexually by fragmentation, as well as sexually with planktonic larvae. Head and tails regenerate and fragments regenerating heads and tails have been observed.
 Distribution:  Occurs only in New Zealand. Not known to be invasive or anthropochoric. Global distribution includes New Zealand mainland..
 Remarks:  Also found on other gastropods such as Cookia sulcata.
 Biology: Dodecaceria berkeleyi seems to be an opportunist species, taking over existing borings and extending them. Its ability to reproduce asexually means it can increase density rapidly from a founding individual. Feeding group: Surface deposit-feeding/herbivore.
 Best References:   Biology: Knox (1971) Dodecaceria berkeleyi n. sp., a polychaete (Family Cirrutulidae [sic]) from New Zealand.. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 28:1437-1443 Taxonomy: Knox (1971) Dodecaceria berkeleyi n. sp., a polychaete (Family Cirrutulidae [sic]) from New Zealand. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 28:1437-1443.

  Synonyms,  NZ records Original figures Original description details
 Genus diagnosis More pictures Further references (biology, etc) Family Cirratulidae

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Data last edited 19/07/2004  (dd/mm/yy), and page last generated by G. Read, 25/07/2004  (dd/mm/yy)