MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A bristleworm (Branchiomma bombyx)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Branchiomma bombyx is a yellowish-brown, cylindrical, segmented bristleworm that is up to 5 cm in length. The head has two palps, a small prostomium and compound eyes. The head bears a crown of up to 50 stiff, feather-like tentacles (radioles) marked by brown and violet bands with scattered eyespots which lie in between the palps and is divided into two sets. The body is divided into two sections, the first eight segments are thoracic, the remainder, approximately 70, are abdominal. Each segment has paired, epithelial, shoe-horn shaped, lobed flaps on either side, though towards the ends of the body they may have scalloped edges. The first thoracic segment lacks chaetae and forms a short collar that is marked by a ventral cleft that covers the base of the crown. The ventral chaetae of the thorax are small, short and hook-shaped, whereas the dorsal chaetae are slender. The abdominal chaetae are arranged in a C-shape.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Branchiomma bombyx is widespread around all coasts of the British Isles but is not often found in great numbers.

Global distribution

Branchiomma bombyx is also found in the Mediterranean.

Habitat

Branchiomma bombyx inhabits low water and sublittoral zones and is found amongst rock crevices, stones and shells.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Yellowish-brown, segmented bristle-worm up to 5 cm in length.
  • Crown of up to 50 stiff, featherlike, violet and brown tentacles in two sets.
  • Short, ventrally notched collar on first segment.
  • Segments bear paired, shoe-horn shaped, epithelial flaps on each side.
  • Second to seventh segments are thoracic with short, hooked, ventral chaetae and longer, slender dorsal chaetae on each side.
  • Chaetae of abdominal segments arranged in a 'C' shape.

Additional information

Branchiomma bombyx forms tubes that it inhabits. This species may be mistaken for Megalomma spp. that have identical thoracic chaetae or, Bispira volutacornis with similar abdominal chaetae.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:

Bibliography

  1. Bruce, J.R., Colman, J.S. & Jones, N.S., 1963. Marine fauna of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

  2. Costello, M.J., Bouchet, P., Boxshall, G., Emblow, C. & Vanden Berghe, E., 2004. European Register of Marine Species [On-line]. http://www.marbef.org/data/erms.php,

  3. Crothers, J. A., 1997. A key to the major groups of British marine invertebrates. Field Studies, 9, 1-177.

  4. Dales, R.P., 1963. Annelids. London: Hutchinson & Co.

  5. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  6. Foster-Smith, J. (ed.), 2000. The marine fauna and flora of the Cullercoats District. Marine species records for the North East Coast of England. Sunderland: Penshaw Press, for the Dove Marine Laboratory, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

  7. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  8. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  9. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 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.]

  10. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: http://www.nbnatlas.org.  Accessed 01 April 2017

  11. 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/

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Richards, S. 2007. Branchiomma bombyx A bristleworm. 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/18

Last Updated: 12/09/2007