NIWA Guide to Polychaeta | Shore polychaetes | Shell polychaetes
Shell worm Dipolydora dorsomaculata Spionidae (spionid)
Spionida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
Dipolydora  dorsomaculata  (Rainer, 1973).   Family Spionidae  
     Dipolydora dorsomaculata figure
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 Identification tips:    Morphology unremarkable, but chaetiger 5 falcate spines lack a tooth or flange. Distinctive colour pattern(s) absent.
 Habitat: Inshore marine embayment. Known from mollusc shell. In bivalves. In self-created shell-borings (unconfirmed). Recorded from living shells of New Zealand commercial shellfish: Ostrea chilensis. Occurrences in empty/dead shell also never reported.
 Nomenclature: Genus Dipolydora in Family Spionidae. Dipolydora dorsomaculata. Described by Rainer, published in 1973, as Polydora dorsomaculata. Type locality: New Zealand, Otago Harbour. Other synonyms: [Blake & Kudenov, 1978 treated as Polydora flava].
 Description:  Head region: Prostomium tip notched. Occipital antenna absent. Caruncle extends to anterior chaetiger 5; separate mid-dorsal organ absent. Colouration: Eyes present, two pairs. Dorsal pigmentation pattern present; dark anterior dorsal pigmentation present. Dark anterior pigmentation on some anterior chaetigers (as spots of pigment anterior and anteromedial to branchiae of chaetigers 10-25). Palp banding absent. White mid-body or posterior dorsal pigmentation absent. Branchiae, chaetae, and pygidium: Branchiae adjoining parapodia 7 and following; longest branchiae on chaetiger 7 (and following); near body end branchiae absent; end at 35. 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 apically with narrow angle with apical tooth. Alternating capillaries adjacent hooded hooks absent; neurochaetal inferior chaetae below hooded hooks present. Chaetiger one notochaetae present; notopodial lobe present. Chaetae of chaetiger 5 'upper' (or 'posterior') row weakly falcate with subterminal swelling, 'lower' (or 'anterior') row are hastate tipped 'companion' chaetae. Superior notochaetae of chaetiger 5 present. Inferior neurochaetae of chaetiger 5 present. Posterior notochaetal spines present (as embedded group); mostly acicular. Pygidium thickened plug-like disc with dorsal notch. Pygidium small, not extending wider than last chaetigers.
 Dimensions: Length 7 mm. Width 0.4 mm. Segment total 68. Small species.
 Reproduction: Active planktonic dispersal unstated. Reproductive period unknown.
 Distribution:  Occurs only in New Zealand. Not known to be invasive or anthropochoric. Global distribution includes New Zealand mainland..
 Remarks:  Related or same as D. flava. In life the 2 lobes of the prostomium tip are sharp-pointed and independently actively mobile.
 Biology: Little is known about Dipolydora dorsomaculata as it is relatively uncommon. Similarly the related D. flava is little-known apart from taxonomic records. 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: Rainer (1973) Polydora and related genera (Polychaeta: Spionidae) from Otago waters. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 3:545-564.

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 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 20/07/2004  (dd/mm/yy), and page last generated by G. Read, 25/07/2004  (dd/mm/yy)