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The prostomium in Aphroditidae is a frontally rounded double lobe, and the
peristomium is reduced to lips around the mouth. A median
antenna is present; lateral antennae are absent.
A facial tubercle is prominent in most taxa. Ventral, tapering,
unarticulated palps are present; they are fused to the anterior
surface of the first pair of parapodia. Nuchal organs are
present. Longitudinal muscles are present in
four bundles; segmentation is distinct. The first
segment is curved around the prostomium and has parapodia
which are similar to those of other body segments. Two pairs of tentacular cirri are present. The
notopodia are always shorter than the neuropodia. Either
dorsal cirri or elytra are on segments throughout; ventral cirri
are present. Elytra are absent in Palmyra. Simple papillae are present on the venter and
parapodia in many taxa. Pygidial cirri have been interpreted as being either present or absent Fauchald & Rouse (1997).
Lateral organs and dorsal cirrus organs have not been
observed. The buccal organ is an eversible muscular axial
pharynx with two pairs of dorso-ventrally arranged jaws
which are poorly developed in some species;
terminal pharyngeal papillae are present. The gular membrane
is absent, and the gut has paired side-branches (caeca) in most
segments. The segmental organs, mixonephridia, are present
in most segments. The circulatory system is closed and the heart body
absent. Aciculae are present. Chaetae are variously
ornamented capillaries and spines.
Notochaetae are spines, capillaries and fine silky fibres,
which form a dorsal felt in many taxa. The silky fibres are
produced by spinning glands.
Recognising the family Aphroditids are most likely to be confused with one of the other families that also have dorsal rows of scales. The quick guide to scale worms should help separate these 6 families.
Recognising the family
Aphroditids are most likely to be confused with one of the other families that also have dorsal rows of scales. The quick guide to scale worms should help separate these 6 families.