Green-leaf worm (Eulalia viridis)

NBN Interactive29-04-2008

Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution

Researched byPaolo Pizzolla Refereed byAdmin
Authority(Linnaeus, 1767)
Other common names- Synonyms-

Summary

Description

A long, dorsally flattened worm (between 5 -15 cm in length) with up to 200 segments. The eversible proboscis is long and cylindrical and covered in small, rounded papillae. The head has two large eyes, 5 antennae and 4 pairs of tentacular cirri, the longest of which may reach back to about the 7th segment. The paddles on the parapods are flattened, elongated and narrow to a point. The worm is bright to mid-green in colour.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found around all British and Irish coasts.

Global distribution

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Habitat

The green-leaf worm is found widely in crevices, barnacle and mussel beds and on kelp holdfasts from the intertidal to the shallow sublittoral. It may also be found subtidally on hard rocky bottoms and in shell gravel.

Depth range

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Identifying features

  • A long, many segmented, dorsally flattened polychaete, between 5 -15 cm long and 2.5 cm in width, excluding the parapodia.
  • Colour varies from light yellowish green to bright green.
  • The prostomium has 2 pairs of short antennae and a fifth, median antenna in front of the dark red eyes.
  • Immediately behind the prostomium there are four pairs of tentacles that may reach back to segment 7.
  • Behind the head the dorsal cirri of each parapod are flattened and pointed. They project out from the body to form a fringe down each side of the body.

Additional information

It breeds in July and August. It is thought to produce the green gelatinous egg masses found on the shore, usually attached to seaweed, although there is no evidence to corroborate this assumption (Fish & Fish, 1996).

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.
  3. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]
  5. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid,
  6. NBN (National Biodiversity Network), 2002. National Biodiversity Network gateway. http://www.searchnbn.net, 2008-10-31
  7. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin., http://www.itsligo.ie/biomar/
  8. Pleijel, F. & Dales, R.P., 1991. Polychaetes: British Phyllodocoideans, Typhloscolecoideans and Tomopteroideans. Oegstgeest, The Netherlands: U.B.S./Dr. W. Backhuys. [Synopsis of the British Fauna No. 45.]

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Pizzolla, P.F 2008. Eulalia viridis Green-leaf worm. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1515

Last Updated: 29/04/2008