A bristleworm (Scoletoma tetraura)

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



Scoletoma tetraura is a large polychaete growing up to 40 cm in length. The species is iridescent pale pink or red in colour and possesses yellow acicula. It has an elongated body and is worm like in appearance.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded from scattered locations around the coast of Britain.

Global distribution



Scoletoma tetraura occurs from low water to considerable depths. It occupies a variety of substrata including clean or slightly muddy sand, shell gravel and algal holdfasts.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Iridescent pale pink or red in colour
  • Up to 40 cm in length
  • 500 or more segments
  • No gills present
  • Yellow acicula
  • Curved, bladed simple chaetae in first 40-80 segments
  • Four short anal cirri
  • No jointed crochets
  • Simple crochets lacking from first 5 chaetigers

Additional information


Listed by

- none -


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

  2. 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.]


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

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-06-15


This review can be cited as:

Riley, K. 2003. Scoletoma tetraura 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 15-06-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1851

Last Updated: 06/01/2003