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Phyllodocid taxa DELTA output for proof-reading
Phyllodocid characters DELTA output for proof-reading



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General features. Body shape vermiform; segments numerous (more than about 15); regionation absent. Body opaque, gut usually not visible. Pygidium simple ring or cone. Pygidial appendages present; one pair of cirri, or one pair of cirri and single medial papilla.

Head & head structures. Head discrete and compact, dorsal to mouth. Prostomium bluntly conical to trapezoidal (narrow end anteriorly). Eyes present; one pair; situated on prostomium; compound with lenses. Prostomial antennae present; paired arising anterolaterally, or include paired anterolateral ones and single medial one; smooth. Palps paired (resemble antennae); unarticulated; ventrolateral. Nuchal organs indistinct paired dorsolateral patches, or paired posterior projections. Peristomial ring absent.

Pharynx & pharyngeal apparatus. Foregut a muscular axial pharynx; surface smooth, or with soft papillae; papillae irregularly arranged, or in distinct rows; distal ring of papillae present.

Body segments & parapodia. First segment with tentacular cirri. Tentacular cirri 2–4 pair(s); arise on a single segment, or over two or more segments (segments often fused); internal aciculae absent. First chaetiger with neurochaetae only. Parapodia uniramous throughout; notopodial lobes absent; neuropodial lobes represented by at least one chaetal lobe. Dorsal cirri flattened and foliaceous. Ventral cirri present, cirriform or tapering, or foliaceous. Branchiae absent.

Chaetae. Notochaetae absent, or present. Aciculae present; in ventral position (=neuroaciculae). Capillary chaetae absent, or present; hair-like; smooth. Spines absent. Hooks absent. Compound chaetae present; appendage distally tapering to slender tips (=spinigerous); appendage not canaliculated; appendage without hoods or guards; joint distinctly asymmetrical (=heterogomph); joint effected by ligament(s); shaft distinctly inflated distally near joint; shaft without distinct core. Compound falcigers present in most or all chaetigers.

Tube & burrow. Tube absent or unconsolidated. Burrow traces absent.

Identification tips

Recognising the family
Inexperienced identifiers are perhaps most likely to confused phyllodocids with Nereididae, Hesionidae and Syllidae, however the distinctive, flattened leaf-like dorsal cirri should immediately distinguish members of the Phyllodocidae.

Distinguishing species
Principal characters for distinguishing phyllodocid genera and species are the number of pairs of tentacular cirri and their placement, whether or not the first few segments are fused, the presence or absence of a median antenna on the prostomium, and the morphology of the eversible pharynx (normally only visible in dissection). Tentacular cirri can be lost but their attachment scars are normally clearly visible. Parapodial morphology is also useful but it is not often necessary to examine chaetae for routine phyllodocid identifications. If it possible to examine live or fresh specimens then colour and colour patterns will be probably provide the most useful species-specific characters.


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