BIOTIC Species Information for Marphysa spp.
Researched bySean Lindsley-Leake Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed
Scientific nameMarphysa spp. Common nameA polychaete worm
MCS CodeP563 Recent Synonyms

PhylumAnnelida Subphylum
Superclass ClassPolychaeta
Subclass OrderEunicida
Suborder FamilyEunicidae
GenusMarphysa Species

Additional Information
Taxonomy References
General Biology
Growth form Feeding method
Environmental position
Typical food types HabitBurrow dwelling
Bioturbator FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeMedium-large(21-50cm)
Heightnot relevant Growth Rate
Adult dispersal potential Dependency
General Biology Additional Information
Biology References Calacademy website,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & Ireland
Global distribution
Biogeographic range Depth range
Distribution Additional Information

Substratum preferences Physiographic preferences
Biological zone Wave exposure
Tidal stream strength/Water flow Salinity
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typePermanent hermaphrodite
Developmental mechanismLecithotrophic
Reproductive SeasonMarch Reproductive LocationAdult burrow
Reproductive frequencyAnnual episodic Regeneration potential Yes
Life spanInsufficient information Age at reproductive maturityInsufficient information
Generation timeInsufficient information Fecundity8500-24,300
Egg/propagule size300-320 µm Fertilization typeExternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential10-100m Larval settlement periodMarch
Duration of larval stage<1 day   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationM. sanguinea's pelagic stage is reduced to just a few hours. In this species, in fact, the trochophore is driven by a strong positive phototrophism to leave their parentsí burrow and seek the surface of the water, where they complete their larval development. Development up to the nectochaete with four setigerous segments proceeds using the yolk contained in the egg as a food resource; indeed, only when four segments have developed is the masticator apparatus perfectly formed and fully functional and the intestine canalized. Up to this stage, the larvae produce a sticky substance that anchors them to the substrate and prevents them from being swept in the open sea by the action of the tide. From this stage onwards, their greater mobility enables them to incorporate particles of sediment into the mucilaginous substance, and they begin to build themselves a tube inside which they live.
Reproduction References Calacademy website, Prevedelli & Simonini, 2003,
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