An oval bodied worm of around 10-20 cm long with a width of up to 6 cm. This polychaete has a distinctive covering of chaeta and bristles giving it a mat-like, 'felt' appearance. Some chaetae are iridescent giving the flanks a blue, green, yellow and bronze shimmer. The ventral underside is yellow/brown in colour and forms a ridged, flattened sole. The head is hidden but two horn-like palps protrude in front.Aphrodita aculeata is named after the Greek goddess of love. All members of the family Aphroditidae are characterized by scales (the elytra) on their back (dorsal surface) which, in Aphrodita aculeata, are covered by a conspicuous layer of long, fine chaetae forming a mat of 'felt'. Detailed descriptions of this species are given by Fordham (1925), Chamber & Muir (1997) and Barnich & Fiege (2000). Aphrodita aculeata is distinguished from Aphrodita alta and Aphrodita perarmata by the presence of iridescent lateral chaetae in Aphrodita aculeata (Barnich & Fiege, 2000).
Individuals may be found washed up on shores after storms or stranded during low tides.
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