MarLIN

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

A scale worm (Malmgrenia lunulata)

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

Summary

Description

The body is 10-35 mm long, broad, flattened and more or less straight-sided. The frontal parapodia are not well marked. The dorsal parapodia extend only as far as the chaetae. It has 15 pairs of oval scales that overlap and cover the back except for the last two segments. The dorsal scales are smooth and unfringed and decorated with very variable patterns. The scales are pale reddish brown in colour with a dark circle on each scale. The underside surface has a median dark-red band and transverse brownish stripes posterioirly. The head is reddish in colour with brown markings on the antennae and parapodia. This species displays bioluminescence.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common around Britain with isolated records in Northern Ireland.

Global distribution

Recorded from the western coasts of Europe to the Mediterranean.

Habitat

This species is found at low water and under stones or in crevices. Has been found among holdfasts of kelp on the Breakwater in Plymouth Sound.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • The body is 10-35 mm long, broad and flattened.
  • Dorsal parapodia extended only as far as chaetae.
  • 15 pairs of overlapping, oval scales.
  • Pale reddish brown in colour.
  • A dark spot on each scale.
  • Bioluminescent.

Additional information

Often found living as a commensal with other worms, sea cucumbers and the brittlestar Amphiura brachiata. The pigmentation of the worm often perfectly mimics the hosts colouration.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

    Citation

    This review can be cited as:

    Carter, M.C. 2003. Malmgrenia lunulata A scale 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/1952

    Last Updated: 10/09/2003