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Lepidastheniella comma Polynoidae (polynoid/scale worm)
Phyllodocida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
Lepidastheniella  comma  (Thomson, 1902).   Family Polynoidae  
     Lepidastheniella comma
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 Habitat: Intertidal. Subtidal. Rocky shore. Sheltered to open beaches. Epifaunal. Depth range: 0-10 (m). Salinity regime: Harbour-like variation. Microhabitat:  Rock crevices, worm tubes. Tube: May inhabit tubes of other worms.
Occurrence:  Consistently occurring. Density: 50 (m2).
Distribution in NZ: New Zealand mainland and Auckland Island.
 Feeding guild: Surface omnivore.
 Diagnosis:  Genus Lepidastheniella in Family Polynoidae.
Median antenna lower (ventral view) than lateral. Anteriormost cirri (and antenna) with dark band at constriction and subdistally; later cirri unpigmented. Antennal cirrophores dark. Anterior dorsal cirri base dark-pigmented and transverse dark bands mid-dorsal intersegmentally. Elytra 26-41 for 60-78 chaetigers, present in normal alternating pattern, and only just overlap all along body, becoming smaller in far post. Notochaetae at least 20 capillaries, finely-serrated, neurochaetae golden (not dark), about 10-12 per fascicle, unidentate with usual subdistal comb rows. Elytra mottled dark with blotchy pigment spots, without marginal papillae. Eltyral tubercles small. Very short anal cirri pair. Small blunt (or cirrus-like) facial tubercle. Colour: Elytra mottled dark with blotchy pigment spots. Maximum size: 70 mm total length, 5 mm body width.
 Notable aspect: Elongate with about 40 smooth-edged elytra.
 Comparisons:  Unlikely to be confused with other rock shore polynoids. The sand-dwelling commensal Disconatis accolus has much smaller, almost colourless elytra.
 Taxonomy:  L. comma has 40 elytra according to Barnich & Fiege, 35-45 according to Thomson. Local specimens with 78 chaetigers for 41 elytra in Port WT109, 63 and ca.29 elytra for complete wt014; ca. 60 chaetigers & 28 elytra for complete WT104). May be more than one species here. As Barnich & Fiege claim, Benham's L. monroi is probably same thing. But this species requires further evalution in detail.
 Distribution: Endemic. New Zealand.
 Biology: May be commensal. Wide range of habitats may indicate more than one species has been reported under this name.
 Best References:   Biology: No recommendation. Taxonomy: Barnich and Fiege (2003) Revision of the genus Lepidastheniella Monro, 1924 (Polychaeta: Polynoidae: Lepidastheniinae) with notes on the subfamily Lepidastheniinae and the description of a new species.. Journal of Natural History 38:863-876..

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

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Data last edited 6/07/2004, and page last generated by G. Read, 27/07/2004    (dd/mm/yy)