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Flabelligeridae: Coppingeria longisetosa

The prostomium is a narrow ridge, often referred to as the prostomial lobe, and the peristomium is reduced. Antennae are absent, and peristomial paired grooved palps are located at the corners of the mouth. Nuchal organs are paired ciliated ridges lateral to the prostomium. The longitudinal muscles are arranged in bundles. The first segments are fused to form the branchial membrane (or cephalic hood). Parapodia are biramous and poorly developed. All notopodia and neuropodia are short, and are distally truncate or tapering. Dorsal and ventral cirri are absent. Dorsal segmental branchiae are present and arise from the cephalic hood. Lateral organs and dorsal cirrus organs have not been observed. Papillae of a characteristic structure are present, often especially dense and long around chaetae. An eversible ventral buccal organ is present and the gut is looped. A gular membrane is present. Segmental organs are present as mixonephridia; the anteriormost pair is excretory and the more posterior ones function as gonoducts. The circulatory system is closed, and a heart body is present. Aciculae are absent. Chaetae are present as falcate compound falcigers and variously ornamented capillaries. The relatively thick, distally blunt chaetae present in many species of flabelligerids have been referred to as spines and as modified capillaries.

The above description is based on Hutchings (2000), which in turn is based on Fauchald & Rouse (1997).

Identification tips

Recognising the family
Both Flabelligeridae and Fauveliopsidae have interramal papillae, but fauveliopsids have spines in both notopodia and neuropodia whereas flabelligerids only have spines in neuropodia. Flabelligerids are frequently collected in benthic samples, especially in poorly-sorted sediments, whereas fauveliopsids are quite uncommon.

Distinguishing species
Complete individuals are required for identification, and it is often difficult to see the grooved palps which are often contracted and hidden by the cephalic cage. Examination of live specimens helps in the interpretation of the various head structures.


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