Comprehensive Description

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 Nephtys cirrosa is a thin, smooth, segmented worm, up to 10 cm in length. Its head is small, with four small antennae. Nephtys cirrosa has a large proboscis, covered in prominent papillae, that it projects and uses to dig into the sediment. It is oval in cross section but, may appear flattened (when viewed from above) owing to bristled lobes (parapods) which extend from the body. It is a lustrous white colour with golden bristled parapods. Nephtys cirrosa is an active worm which demonstrates the characteristic swimming motion (a rapid lateral wriggling, starting from the rear and increasing in amplitude towards the head) of the Nephtyidae.
  • The different species of Nephtyidae are difficult to identify, requiring detailed examination of the parapoda and chaetae. Reference to Rainer (1991) is recommended.
  • Large worms are used for bait and are called 'catworms' by anglers.
  • Nephtys cirrosa prefers cleaner and coarser sand than Nephtys hombergii.
  • Four species of Nephtys (Nephtys caeca, Nephtys cirrosa, Nephtys hombergii and Nephtys longosetosa) occur intertidally in the British Isles, two others, Nephtys ciliata and Nephtys hystricis, are confined almost exclusively to the subtidal (Olive & Morgan, 1991).


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©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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