NIWA Guide to Polychaeta | Shore polychaetes | Shell polychaetes
Shell worm Boccardia chilensis Spionidae (spionid)
Spionida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
Boccardia  chilensis  Blake & Woodwick, 1971.   Family Spionidae  
     Boccardia chilensis
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 Identification tips:    Occipital tentacle, enlarged chaetiger 2 branchiae, anterior middorsal swelling. Distinctive colour pattern(s) present; white pigment on prostomium tip, on posterior dorsal body, and sometimes as bars on palps.
 Habitat: Intertidal marine, or inshore marine embayment. Known from mollusc shell. In bivalves, or in gastropods. In self-created shell-borings, or in abandoned shell-borings, or in rock crevices, or in sand. Recorded from living shells of New Zealand commercial shellfish: Atrina pectinata, Austrovenus stutchburyi, Haliotis iris, Ostrea chilensis. Occurrences in empty/dead shell also known. Tube lining absent. Shell-boring shape random track single-width tube. Tube chimney absent.
 Nomenclature: Genus Boccardia in Family Spionidae. Boccardia chilensis [NZ]. Described by Blake & Woodwick, published in 1971, as Boccardia chilensis Type locality: Chile, Bahia San Vicente. Other synonyms: Boccardia jubata Rainer, 1973.
 Description:  Head region: Prostomium tip pronounced notch. Occipital antenna present. Caruncle extends to anterior chaetiger 3; separate mid-dorsal organ present. Separate mid-dorsal organ between 5-8. Colouration: Eyes present, two pairs. Dorsal pigmentation pattern present; white (or yellow white) anterior dorsal pigmentation present. Palp banding absent, or white bars. White mid-body or posterior dorsal pigmentation present. Branchiae, chaetae, and pygidium: Branchiae adjoining parapodia 2-4, then 6 and following; longest branchiae on chaetiger 2; near body end branchiae absent. Anterior gut gizzard-like structure absent. Hooded hooks begin chaetiger 7; bifid, hook shaft constriction (manubrium) absent, anterior hooded hook main fang more or less oriented at right angles to the shaft with narrow (acute) angle to apical tooth. Alternating capillaries adjacent hooded hooks absent; neurochaetal inferior chaetae below hooded hooks absent. Chaetiger one notochaetae present; notopodial lobe present. Chaetae of chaetiger 5 'upper' (or 'posterior') row falcate without ornamentation, 'lower' (or 'anterior') row are cupped (sub-terminal complete flange), with central point. Superior notochaetae of chaetiger 5 absent. Posterior notochaetal spines absent. Pygidium pad shaped.
 Dimensions: Length 25 mm. Width 0.7 mm. Segment total 80.
 Reproduction: Active planktonic dispersal present. Larval nutrition mostly planktotrophic, with early larval release, or nurse egg lecithotrophic; poecilogony occurs. Reproductive period All year except October to December. Pelagic larva dorsal pigmentation inconspicuous or absent.
 Distribution:  World distribution includes New Zealand and elsewhere. Not known to be invasive or anthropochoric. Global distribution includes New Zealand mainland, Chatham Island, Australia, within south east coast and Tasmanian zone, South America, Pacific coast..
 Remarks:  Rainer recorded size as up to 70 mm which would be exceptional for this species. There is a suspicion that more than one species is included as B. chilensis. The anterior dorsal swelling is almost unique to this species. B. chilensis is often present in borings but is suspected of often being a secondary occupant rather than a initial creator of the boring.
 Biology: Boccardia chilensis is a versatile species, occurring in borings on the shell of bivalves and Haliotis iris, as well as in rock crevices in the intertidal. Reproduction mostly planktotrophic, with larvae very common in coastal plankton. Feeding group: Surface deposit/filter-feeding.
 Best References:   Biology: Read (1975) Systematics and biology of polydorid species (Polychaeta: Spionidae) from Wellington Harbour.. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 5:395-419 Taxonomy: Read (1975) Systematics and biology of polydorid species (Polychaeta: Spionidae) from Wellington Harbour. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 5:395-419.

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

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The information provided by this page and by the pages of the "more information" links is held in a structured form for rapid and frequent updating and improvement. Descriptive text is compiled from a number of database fields, some of which may occasionally be empty.
Data last edited 23/07/2004  (dd/mm/yy), and page last generated by G. Read, 25/07/2004  (dd/mm/yy)