Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution
Other common names
Sabella penicillus (Gmelin, 1791)
A long, slender, many segmented worm up to 30 cm long and only 4mm in width. It lives permanently in a smooth, flexible, muddy tube that projects up to 10 cm above the sand. The head projects from the tube during feeding and bears a daisy-like crown of feathery tentacles in two groups. The body can be yellowish-orange or greyish purple in colour and the crown is banded in various colours.
Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland
Widely distributed, and locally abundant, around all British coasts.
Widely distributed in north west Europe.
Found on stones in sand and mud, at and below low water.
A long, thin worm, up to 30 cm in length and 4 mm in width, with many segments.
The body is orange to dull purple in colour.
Conspicuous crown of feathery tentacles banded in red, brown and purple, withdrawn into the tube when not feeding.
Chaetae small, slender and unobtrusive.
The muddy tube is smooth and flexible and projects up to 10cm above the substrate.
Identification of the family Sabellidae to species level depends on the fine structure of the parapods (see Fauchald, 1977).
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/
This review can be cited as:
Avant, P. 2008. Sabella pavonina Peacock 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/1717
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