Opheliids are infaunal, deposit-feeding worms found in a wide range of habitats from sandy to muddy sediments and from intertidal regions down to deep sea. Some species are easily noticed when disturbed, exhibiting fast, energetic movements superficially similar to nematodes. Opheliids are typically elongated, slender bodies with pointed prostomial. All opheliids have a distinctive ventral groove along part or all of the body. Internally, some opheliids are unusual in lacking circular muscles (Blake, 2000; Rouse & Pleijel, 2001).
Opheliidae currently consists of two subfamilies—Ophelininae and Opheliinae; the third subfamily—Travisiinae—was recently moved from Opheliidae to Scalibregmatidae (Paul et al., 2010). Considerable morphological and behavioral differences are found between these two clades (Law et al., in review). Whereas members of Opheliinae (e.g. Thoracophelia mucronata) exhibit typical peristaltic behavior found in many muddy sediment burrowers, members of Ophelininae (e.g. Armandia brevis, Ophelina acuminata) lack both circular muscles and eversible anterior regions necessary for peristalsis and thus exhibit undulatory burrowing behavior.
- Blake JA. 2000. 7. Family Opheliidae Malmgren, 1867. Taxonomic atlas of the Benthic Fauna of the Santa Maria Basin and Western Santa Barbara Channel Vol. 7 The Annelida Part 4 Polychaeta Flabelligeridae to Sternaspidae, 145–167.
- Law CJ, Dorgan KM, & Rouse GW. Relating divergence in polychaete musculature (Annelida: Opheliidae) with different burrowing behaviors. Journal of Morphology. In review.
- Paul C, Halanych KM, Tiedemann R, & Bleidorn C. 2010. Molecules reject an opheliid affinity for Travisia(Annelida). Systematics and Biodiversity 8:507–512.
- Rouse G & Pleijel F. 2001. Polychaetes. New Yok: Oxford University Press. 354 pp.
Evolution and Systematics
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:255
Specimens with Barcodes:245
Species With Barcodes:30
Ophelliidae is a family of small, annelid worms. It contains the following genera:
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