Boccardia proboscidea Hartman, 1940

Pest, Invasive

Largest specimen: up to 33mm. Prostomium rounded (sometimes weakly indented). Caruncle middle or end of chaetiger 3. 2 – 3 pairs of eyes.

Live animals sometimes pale green with bright red branchiae and black pigment along edge of prostomium; faint black markings on dorsal surface between chaetigers 1 & 2 and 2 & 3. Preserved animals tan, dark line along the feeding groove of palps and along margins of prostomium and caruncle.

Chaetiger 1 with short notochaetae. Hooded hooks start on chaetiger 7; up to 7 or 8 per ramus. Neuropodial lobe with hooded hooks up to chaetigers 10 or 11. Modified spines of chaetiger 5 with two heavy curved spines and three blunt, bristle-toppedspines. Branchiae on chaetigers 2 – 4 and posteriorly from chaetiger 6, absent from last chaetigers 2-10 chaetigers, filiform, separate from notopodial lobes.

Large paired glands with many small glandular pouches in chaetigers 7-9.

Pygidium a fleshy cuff with dorsal notch, may be divided into four lobes or by folds in the pygidium.

South Africa: Saldanha Bay to Haga Haga, cultured abalone, most abundant in effluent outflow outside abalone farms, occurs more widely in intertidal in Walker Bay area.
Southern California (Type locality) to Canada (British Columbia).
Australia, Hawai’i, New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan, Belgium.

Primarily a sediment dweller. Secondary borer on cultured abalone in South Africa, may form tubes on shells of oysters Ostrea edulis and Crassostrea gigas, the barnacle Semibalinus cariosus and abalone Haliotis midae.

Worms reproduce throughout the year, but increase from end of winter to early summer in South Africa. Poecilogonous; individual tear-drop shaped capsules contain adelphophagic and planktotrophic larvae.

Easy to confuse with B. polybranchia but differ according to shape of anterior branchiae, presence of notochaetae on chaetiger 1, and shape of prostomium.

Cite as: Van Niekerk, S. and Simon C.A. (2012) Boccardia proboscidea Hartman, 1940, modified May 2019. (, Accessed on <day/month/year>)