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Grube 1850


Phylum Annelida
Class Polychaeta
Subclass Palpata
Order Canalipalpata
Suborder Spionida
Family Spionidae


  • Variable.


  • Known as 'palp worms'.
  • Selective deposit feeders.

Distinguishing characteristics

  • Two prominent grooved palps to locate prey.
  • Palps are generally grooved, ciliated and posses sensory structures.
  • Nuchal organs form posterior projections.
  • Specialised chaetae.
  • Ciliary tufts and bands.


  • Widely distributed throughout the world.
  • Larvae of Spionidae are generally the most common developmental stages of polychaetes found in plankton samples.


  • Benthic sessile or semi-sessile.
  • Deposit or suspension feeders.
  • Various types of development:
    • pure broadcast spawning
    • planktotrophic and/or lecithotrophic larvae (brooding in capsules or cocoons).
  • Periods of development can be long lasting and can result in large numbers of larvae in coastal areas.
  • Locomotion: Lecithotrophic larvae are weak swimmers. Planktotrophic larvae are strong swimmers (performed by propulsion by the cilia).