NIWA Guide to Polychaeta | Shore polychaetes | Pick shore group | Pick shore family | Shell polychaetes
Scalibregmatidae Family Scalibregmatidae (scalibregmatid)
Scolecida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
About Family Scalibregmatidae polychaetes in New Zealand.  
How to recognise the family: The scalibregmatid head in most genera is characteristically bluntly bilobed into a T-shape, sometimes carrying a pair of transversely elongated eyes. In Travisia it is pointed. The body surface is usually annulated or wrinkled. Chaetae are capillaries with a few forked chaetae or aciculae. Gills may be present on a few anterior segments and may be bushy. Multiple anal cirri or papillae may be present, as may lobes resembling parapodial dorsal and ventral cirri. Short, cylindrical, usually reddish coloured worms, anteriorly stout, posteriorly tapering, and with relatively few segments. Scalibregmatids are probably selective particle feeders. Adult size: Up to 50 mm long, but usually smaller.
How to recognise the New Zealand genera: In Hyboscolex gills are absent. In Travisia the head is pointed.
Quick pick shore species: There are relatively few traditional scalibregmatid species known and they are rarely very abundant. The intertidal Hyboscolex longichaeta Schmarda, 1861 lacks branchiae and parapodial swellings. It has annulated anterior segments dorsally, further divided into a mosaic-like surface and is orange-red or brown in colour with double strips of orange eye spots. It has been seen free-swimming at night, presumably as a spawning migration. The former opheliid, the large fat, bad smelling, grey-white coloured Travisia olens Ehlers, 1897 is found on open to semi-protected sand beaches.
Possible misidentifications: Opheliidae (see below). Superficially scalibregmatids may have a similar wrinkled appearance to some large capitellids, but other characters do not match.
Distributions, lifestyle, and habitat: Throughout New Zealand in the intertidal and subtidally to deep sea. Hyboscolex longichaeta occurs sparsely in muddy rock crevices, also in beds of seagrass (Zostera spp.), silted coralline algal turf and algal holdfasts. Travisia olens is found on open to semi-protected sand beaches.
Abundance: Uncommon to consistently sparsely occurring.
Taxonomic note: On the basis of molecular phylogenic analysis the former opheliid Travisia is now regarded as more correctly belonging to family Scalibregmatidae A Scalibregma species with bushy branchiae on chaetigers two to five, similar to the purportedly cosmopolitan Scalibregma inflatum Rathke, 1843, and also a second Hyboscolex, H. reticulatus (McIntosh, 1885) have been reported offshore. Travisia profundi Chamberlin, 1919 has New Zealand region records.
References: (Benham 1927: p.123, f70-72, P2), (Benham 1950: p24) (Blake 1981: p1154-1162), (Kudenov & Blake 1978: p427-444, f1-32), (Mackie 1991: p268-271, f1-10), (McIntosh 1885: p359-361, P22a.20-21, 44.1-4), (Schmarda 1861: p54-55, P27.211-212)
(Full citations at Family pages literature cited list.)

Species in the guide: Rock Species: None for this family.
Sand Species: Hyboscolex longiseta | Travisia olens
Shell Species: None for this family.

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