NIWA Guide to Polychaeta | Shore polychaetes | Pick shore group | Pick shore family | Shell polychaetes
Oenonidae Family Oenonidae (oenonid)
Eunicida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
About Family Oenonidae polychaetes in New Zealand.  
How to recognise the family: Muscular, elongate, slim, cylindrical worms with reduced parapodia as the notopodia only have an acicula and a variably-developed cirrus, and ventral cirri are absent. Chaetae consist of simple capillaries and rarely subacicular hooks. Complex chitinous maxillae occur above the mandibles and the posterior maxillary 'carriers' are elongate. The oenonid head is conical or spherical without appendages, or with short posterior antennae. A further spot character differentiating small oenonids is their dark brown body colour compared to paler lumbrinerids. The pygidium has no anal cirri, or one or two pairs of short cirri. Some oenonids are internal parasites in other polychaetes and have reduced jaws. Adult size: Tainokia iridescens is up to 440 mm in length. Arabella species are about 50 mm in length.
How to recognise the New Zealand genera: Drilonereis has acicular spines, whereas Arabella does not. In both the head is conical or spherical without appendages. Head with three short posterior antennae in Oenone, one in Tainokia.
Quick pick shore species: Tainokia iridescens Knox and Green, 1972 is an active, tough, and very elongate worm of open beaches.
Possible misidentifications: Lumbrineridae.
Distributions, lifestyle, and habitat: Throughout New Zealand. Intertidal, and subtidal to deep sea. Burrowing in soft substrata.
Abundance: Moderate to low.
Taxonomic note: Oenonidae now include all the Arabellidae (Arabella) and also Tainokia, formerly placed in Lysaretidae. The genus Tainokia is endemic.
References: (Augener 1924b: p430-433), (Colbath 1989: p116-123, f1-2), (Knox & Green 1972c: p431-434, f1-10), (Orensanz 1990: p100-110).
(Full citations at Family pages literature cited list.)

Species in the guide: Rock Species: None for this family.
Sand Species: None for this family.
Shell Species: None for this family.

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Last modified by G. Read, 25/07/2004    (dd/mm/yy)