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Armandia maculata Opheliidae (opheliid)
Scolecida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
Armandia  maculata  (Webster, 1884).   Family Opheliidae  
     Armandia maculata
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 Habitat: Intertidal. Subtidal. Soft shore. Bays and sheltered beaches. Fine sand to sandy mud. Infaunal. Depth range: 0-1000 (m). Salinity regime: Estuary-like variation. Microhabitat:  Low tide sands, including eel grass beds. Tube: No tube.
Occurrence:  Consistently occurring, sometimes common. Density: 100 (m2).
Distribution in NZ: Throughout New Zealand.
 Feeding guild: Subsurface deposit-feeding/herbivore.
 Diagnosis:  Genus Armandia in Family Opheliidae.
Slender, sleek, shiny worms of 29-30 chaetigers, with characteristic lateral and ventral longitudinal grooves above and below the muscular ridge supporting the parapodia. A conical prostomium slightly bulbed at the tip, bears a lateral eyespot preceding an eversible nuchal lobe. Single branchial filaments present from chaetiger 2 to 26, and red lateral eyespots present anterior to parapodia on the 10 chaetigers from 7 to 17. Chaetae are all slender capillaries, longer in the notopodial fascicle, mounted on small parapodia with minute lobes. A ventral anal cirrus present, extending from a funnel with fringing cirri. Colour: Cream coloured and in life somewhat iridescent. Maximum size: 25 mm total length, 1.5 mm body width, for 30 chaetigers.
 Notable aspect: Lateral eyespots. In life this species is superficially reminiscent of a large, thick, stiffened nematode (except nematodes are unsegmented).
 Comparisons:  Armandia maculata is not readily confusable with any other shore species. In Euzonus otagoensis the branchiae are bifurcate (i.e. paired) on each segment.
 Taxonomy:  The common NZ Armandia has an unverified, but long-established name first applied by Augener (1923). As this species is potentially a cryptogenic, man-assisted arrival, perhaps it could be the same as the name Augener uses, a species first described from Bermuda, Armandia maculata. However, all Armandia are very similar, and A.maculata may be a synonym of an older name.
 Distribution: Bermuda, New Zealand
 Biology: Benham (1950:23) wondered why a sand-burrowing animal had a series of eyes. However, as the species is frequently found free-swimming at night, the light-detectors can be used then. Worms are photopositive at night, and photonegative during the day. Armandia maculata is a good coloniser and explorer and is found in small numbers wherever there is sandy sediment and also on silted epifauna and algae.
 Best References:   Biology: No recommendation. Taxonomy: No recommendation.

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

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Data last edited 31/08/2004, and page last generated by G. Read, 11/09/2004    (dd/mm/yy)