Brief Summary

    Polynoidae: Brief Summary
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    Polynoidae is a family of scaled Polychaete worms known as the "scale worms". Short and flat, specimens reach as much as 20 cm in length and 10 cm width in Eulagisca gigantea. An almost-constant number of small segments is the norm. They are active hunters, but generally dwell in protected environments such as under stones.

    They are covered by scales, technically termed elytra, which can be shed and regenerated as a means of defense. In some cases, such as Lepidonotus squamatus, the scales are faintly bioluminescent, and leave glowing traces around the mouthparts of their predators, making those predators more likely to be attacked in turn.

Comprehensive Description


    provided by World Register of Marine Species
    Remarkable for the number of small subfamilies which have been erected. The total is twenty one, or twenty two including the nominal subfamily (Polynoinae), and Hanley (1989) lists 17 to that date. As an example Pettibone (1985) had established subfamily Branchinotogluminae for a single new genus Branchinotogluma with three new species, and earlier (1976) she had created five new subfamilies (Macellicephaloidinae, Macelloidinae, Bathyedithinae, Polaruschakovinae, Bathymacellinae). She has created 12 subfamilies in Polynoidae. The latest subfamily is Uncopolynoinae Wehe, 2006, for one genus, with one species imperfectly known. The validity of all these subfamilies needs re-evaluation. Polynoidae sub-families in chronological order (updated from Hanley, 1989) Polynoinae Kinberg, 1856 [nominal] Iphioninae Baird 1865 Lepidonotinae Willey 1902 Harmothoinae Willey 1902 [= Polynoinae Kinberg] Macellicephalinae Hartmann-Schroder 1971 Bathyedithinae Pettibone 1976 Polaruschakovinae Pettibone 1976 Macelloidinae Pettibone 1976 Macellicephaloidinae Pettibone 1976 Bathymacellinae Pettibone 1976 Admetellinae Uschakov 1977 Polyodontinae Muir 1982 [= family Acoetidae] Gesiellinae Muir 1982 Lepidonotopodinae Pettibone 1983 Branchipolynoinae Pettibone 1984 Branchiplicatinae Pettibone 1985a Branchinotogluminae Pettibone 1985b Lepidastheniinae Pettibone 1989 Acholoinae Pettibone, 1996 [= Polynoinae Kinberg] Eulagiscinae Pettibone, 1997 Vampiropolynoinae Marcus & Hourdez, 2002 Uncopolynoinae Wehe, 2006