Gunnarea gaimardi (Quatrefages, 1848)
Common, indigenous, sometimes used as bait although collection is banned
Up to 100 mm. In life white to brown. Operculum composed of two rows of golden palea (broad flattened chaetae) at right angles to body; 20 – 25 in outer row, 15 – 20 in inner row. 15 – 20 rows of buccal cirri, grooved palps in front of mouth. Parathroracic region (biramous part of thorax) with 3 chaetigers with oar-shaped chaetae. Abdomen ~ 45 chaetigers, uncini with 6 teeth. Branchiae become larger and brown towards posterior section.
Intertidal. Ecosystem engineer, Builds intertidal reefs using sand grains and particles suspended in the water column. Reefs could act as a habitat for other marine organisms. Known to be aggressive competitor for space, forming large colonies.
South Africa: Western Cape Province, west (Type locality Table Bay) and south coast to KwaZulu Natal.
Used as a bait species in South Africa.