with other members
of Family Polynoidae, the dorsal side of this species is covered with a
series of platelike elytra.
squamatus has only 12 pairs of elytra,
which is less than other local family members have. Also, the
lateral pair of prostomial antennae are inserted directly into anterior
projections of the prostomium rather than ventral to the medial
antenna. The dorsal surface often is fouled with debris or
marine growth. The elytra are rough, with a complex covering
of tubercles, and usually have rusty brown spots. The
posterior margins of the elytra have a dense fringe of long papillae.
Both pair of black eyes can be seen from the dorsal side
(except when covered by the elytra). Neurosetae are coarser
than the notosetae, and have single-toothed tips. Length to
squamatus (Linnaeus, 1767)
Common name(s): Rusty scaleworm
|Synonyms: Aphrodita squamatus, Lepidonotus caelorus
squamatus, about 10 mm long. This individual has
lost a few anterior elytra.
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles,
July 2009 )
How to Distinguish from
Similar Species: Other Polynoid scaleworms have
more than 12 pairs of elytra
(usually 15 or more).
Cosmopolitan, Atlantic and Pacific. On our coast
from Alaska to California.
Low intertidal to 46 m or more.
Free-living in kelp holdfasts, under rocks, and among barnacles or
This species often curls into a ball when disturbed.
Omnivorous, feeding both on animals and on algae.
Sexually mature males are pale due to sperm within the body,
while females are dark gray to green.
Kozloff, 1987, 1996
O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
General Notes and
Observations: Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:
This dorsal view of the anterior body shows the rough elytra (several are missing). Note the particles of debris adhering to the elytra and elsewhere, and the brownish coloration on the elytra.
Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2009): Created original page
CSS coding for page developed by Jonathan Cowles (2007)