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 Major Groups | Polychaeta (bristle worms)

Polychaeta (bristle worms)

Descriptive Features:

  • head with 1 median and 2 pairs of lateral tentacles
  • head never sclerotized
  • anterior and posterior suckers absent
  • legs absent
  • shell or single muscular foot absent
  • body elongate and more than 10 body segments
  • body with paired lateral outgrowths, bearing bristles, along full length
  • Total length: up to 5 mm

      Distribution: Coastal areas of Vic, SA, Tas, NSW, Qld

      Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 1

      Functional Feeding Group: unknown for free-living animals, parasitic



      Lake Alexandrina, South Aus

      Ecology: Most bristle worms are marine but occasionally species occur in freshwaters along the coast. They are free living, except for Stratiodrilus (Histriobdellidae) that is ectoparasitic in the gill chambers of some freshwater crayfish (Decapoda).


      Information Sources: Williams 1980, Hawking & Smith 1997, Hutchings & Johnson 2003