Heptaceras quinquedens (Day, 1951)

Bait species, Endemic

Large worm reaching 350 mm. Antennae short and tapered but ceratophores are long with 18 – 30 rings. Peristomial notch located behind median antennae with peristomial cirri on either side. Modified parapodia first 3-5 segments with pectinate chaetae having 25 teeth. Branchiae extend over whole body. Filaments start simple and tapered on 3 rd segment but become pectinate at chaetae 8 – 10. Maximum branchial filaments 8 –12. Dorsal cirri as long as, or almost as long, as branchiae. Pink to dark brown with an iridescent shine.

Tube dwelling, though tube not visible on sediment surface; probably omnivorous; Sandy sediments at low tide mark where there is permanent seepage. Carnivore? Scavenger?

Confirmed: False Bay, Pearly beach, Struisbaai.
Expected all along south and east coast of SA.

Don’t build tubes with chimneys or obvious openings. Therefore very difficult to spot/find though experienced fishermen can readily find them. Commonly referred to as the moonshine worm.

Cite as: Simon C.A. (2019) Heptaceras quinquedens – Day 1951, modified September 2019. (https://thesimonpolychaetelab.com/Heptaceros_quinquedens/, Accessed on <day/month/year>)