NIWA Guide to Polychaeta | Shore polychaetes | Pick shore group | Pick shore family | Shell polychaetes
Phyllodocidae Family Phyllodocidae (phyllodocid)
Phyllodocida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
About Family Phyllodocidae polychaetes in New Zealand.  
How to recognise the family: The phyllodocids are a colourful family of long, slender, and very active carnivorous worms characteristically possessing enlarged dorsal and ventral cirri which are often flattened and leaf-like. The anterior of the head is often somewhat shovel-shaped and bears a group of four 'antennae' (the ventral pair are probably modified palps). A fifth median antenna may be present further back. Jaws are absent, but the anterior gut has a very long eversible proboscis which is usually papillose and with terminal papillae. There are 2-4 pairs of tentacular cirri on 2-3 variably-fused segments behind the head. The arrangement of these cirri and their attendant chaetae is taxonomically important. Parapodia usually lack notopodial lobes. The neurochaetae are compound spinigers, often with ornamentations around the joint. A pair of anal cirri are present. Adult size: Many species are slender worms less than 20 mm long, although Eulalia microphylla may be up to 100 mm in length.
How to recognise the New Zealand genera: The phyllodocids are very diverse, with a large number of genera. There are numerous small New Zealand species but most have not yet been studied, and the several generic names that have been used to date need to be revised.
Quick pick shore species: The common large species is the dark green Eulalia microphylla Schmarda, 1861.
Possible misidentifications: None
Distributions, lifestyle, and habitat: Intertidal and subtidal to deep sea throughout New Zealand. Phyllodocids usually occur amongst sessile marine growths and in clean crevices, although some species live out on the surface of soft substrata. On rocky shores at low tide Eulalia microphylla can frequently be seen in shady places out in the open actively exploring across the boulders.
Abundance: Common.
Taxonomic note: New Zealand species are currently being studied by a phyllodocid taxonomist.
References: (Augener 1924b: p301-310), (Ehlers 1904: p15-19, P2.5-12), (Knox 1960a: p111-115, f132-145), (Pleijel 1991: p225-261, f1-23), (Pleijel 1993: p1-158, f1-104), (Schmarda 1861: p86-87, P29.230).
(Full citations at Family pages literature cited list.)

Species in the guide: Rock Species: Eulalia microphylla
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)