Thoracophelia are burrowing deposit feeders, generally found in the mid- to upper intertidal areas of sandy intertidals. Thoracophelia are characterized by having the body divided into three distinct body regions: (1) a head, (2) a swollen thoracic region, and (3) a longer narrower posterior region containing a ventral groove and branchiae.
Thoracophelia can be distinguished by branchial structures, such as the three species found in North America: T. mucronata (Treadwell, 1914) is found along the west coast of North America and T. dillonensis (Hartman, 1938) and T. williamsi (Hartman, 1938) are found in central California.
- Law CL, Dorgan KM, & Rouse GW. 2013. Validation of three sympatric Thoracophelia species (Annelida: Opheliidae) from Dillon Beach, California using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data. Zootaxa 3608: 067-074.