Boccardia polybranchia (Haswell, 1885)

Common, pseudocosmopolitan

20.3 mm long for 79 chaetigers Prostomium bifid. Caruncle to end of chaetiger 2. No occipital tentacle. 2 pairs of eyes.
Preserved specimens tan with dark pigmentation along margin of prostomium, on dorsal of peristomium and chaetiger 1, on posterior chaetigers and sometimes on pygidium.
Chaetiger 1 reduced and lack notochaetae. Hooded hooks from chaetiger 7, up to 11 hooks per ramus. Modified spines of chaetiger 5 include dorsal row of 2 or 3 falcate spines, and ventral row of 3 or 4 bristle- topped spines. Older falcate spines not strongly curved.
Branchiae on chaetigers 2 – 4 and posteriorly from chaetiger 6 for 70 – 80% of chaetigers. Short, broad and connected to notopodia on chaetigers 6-16, then filiform and longer.
Paired glands composed of a few large sacs observed on chaetigers 7 – 9.
Pygidium, thick and fleshy with dorsal notch (sometimes with ventral notch).

Namibia, South Africa: west, south & east coasts
Australia (Type locality), Brazil, Argentina, Straits of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego, Peru and Kerguelen Islands. Mediterranean, English Channel, France and Japan.

Intertidal, South African specimens associated with mollusc shells (turban shell Turbo sarmaticus, mussel Perna Perna, abalone Haliotis midae and limpet Scutellastra longicosta.  Sandy or muddy tubes associated with Lithothamnion and other coralline algae or Galeolaria tubes. (in Australia). Not a pest.

Probably part of complex of morphologically similar species. Identity of South African species needs to be confirmed.

Cite as: Van Niekerk, S. and Simon C.A. (2012) Boccardia polybranchia (Haswell, 1885) modified May 2019. (, Accessed on <day/month/year>)