Marphysa haemasona Quatrefages, 1866

Common, Indigenous, commonly used as bait.

Body colour variable: Dark red/brown/blue anterior with white spots, middle body sometimes blue and then becoming pale white posteriorly or dark red/brown/black. Entire body iridescent. Prostomium bilobed with two eye spots on the below the second (from left and right) antenna. Five antenna on prostomium. Branchiae start on 26th chaetiger as two filaments and reach a maximum of 4 filaments, then posteriorly decreasing to on filament. Jaws consists of five maxillary plates with variable numbers of teeth as follows: Max I: 1+1, II: 3+3, III: 4, IV: 3+6 and V: 1+1. Chaetae consist of compound spinigers, simple and winged capillaries, symmetrical comb chaetae with fine, medium-coarse and coarse teeth and aciculum with blunt tips.

Found in sand-mucous tubes under boulders in boulder fields usually next to a boat launching site. Sediment type typically grey/black, rich in sulphur and medium coarse grains.

Langebaan Lagoon on the west coast to Knysna on the south coast.

Subacicula hooks recorded in the original description could not be found in newly collected specimens. The species may therefore comprise a species-complex. Alternatively, the hooks may be lost in adult specimens as reported for another closely related species, Marphysa brevitentaculata. Further morphological examinations are under way.

Commonly known as the wonderworm, estuarine wonderworm or ‘bloukoppie’.

Cite as: Kara J, Du Toit A, Simon CA (2019). Marphysa elityeni Lewis and Karageorgopoulos, 2008, modified May 2019, (, Accessed on <day/month/year>)