A bristleworm (Eteone longa)

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



Eteone longa is a long, thin, many segmented worm with a flattened body up to 6 cm long and 1 mm in width. It is transparent yellowish-white in colour and is very active. There are 4 short antennae on the head and it has a smooth eversible proboscis. The parapodia are flattened and leaf-like in shape, forming a fringe down each side of the worm that give it the name 'paddleworm'.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Occurs around most of the British coast.

Global distribution

Found from the north Atlantic to the Arctic.


Eteone longa is found in muddy sand or mud, intertidally and offshore, to a depth of at least 120 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • A long, thin, very active polychaete up to 6 cm long, about 1 mm in width, with about 200 segments.
  • Body flattened and transparent yellowish-white in colour.
  • Head, or prostomium, with 2 pairs of short antennae and 2 small, dark red eyes.
  • Eversible, smooth proboscis that is flared towards its opening.
  • Behind the head the dorsal cirri of each parapod are flattened, projecting out from the body to form a fringe down each side of the body.

Additional information

Eteone longa can be distinguished from Eteone flava, which is morphologically similar but rose-red to orange in colour.

Listed by

- none -


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

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

  3. 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.]

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Pleijel, F. & Dales, R.P., 1991. Polychaetes: British Phyllodocoideans, Typhloscolecoideans and Tomopteroideans. Oegstgeest, The Netherlands: U.B.S./Dr. W. Backhuys. [Synopsis of the British Fauna No. 45.]


  1. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: http://www.ericnortheast.org.ukl accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-38

  2. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  3. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/opc6g1 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  4. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  5. North East Scotland Biological Records Centre, 2017. NE Scotland other invertebrate records 1800-2010. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/ifjfxz accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  6. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-07-14

  7. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Worms (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/5vh0w8 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.


This review can be cited as:

Avant, P. 2007. Eteone longa A bristleworm. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 14-07-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1748

Last Updated: 08/06/2007