MarLIN

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

Gangly lancer (Nymphon gracile)

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

Summary

Description

Nymphon gracile has a smooth body up to 1 cm long. Its body segments are longer than they are wide and the proboscis is at least twice as long as it is wide. The eight legs are long and slender and roughly 3 to 4 times the length of the body. Chelifores of Nymphon gracile have well developed chela and the palps consist of 5 segments, the ultimate and penultimate segments being equal in length. Although the body is translucent, there is a visible, pink alimentary canal. Ovigerous legs occur in both sexes and have prominent toothed spines which are used to clean the surface of the body. Nymphon gracile commonly migrate into the sublittoral to breed during winter months. Males then carry the eggs back to the intertidal zone sometime in March or April. Nymphon gracile generally reach maturity within 5 months and average life expectancy is about a year.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Nymphon gracile may be found all around the coast of the British Isles, although it is less common in the east.

Global distribution

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Habitat

Nymphon gracile can be found in the intertidal and sublittoral of rocky shores.

Depth range

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Identifying features

  • Slender body
  • Elongated legs, 3 to 4 times the length of the body
  • Chelifores have chela
  • Segmented palps, the ultimate and penultimate are equal in length
  • Ovigerous legs present in both males and females

Additional information

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Bibliography

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

  2. Crothers, J.H. (ed.), 1966. Dale Fort Marine Fauna. London: Field Studies Council.

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

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

  5. 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.]

  6. 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

  7. King, P.E. & Case, R.M., 1986. Sea Spiders (Pycnogonids) in and around Milford Haven (South West Wales). Field Studies, 6, 517-529.

  8. King, P.E., 1974. British Sea Spiders. Arthropoda: Pycnogonida. London: Academic Press. [Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 5.]

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

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Heard, J.R. 2006. Nymphon gracile Gangly lancer. 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/2107

Last Updated: 19/04/2006