Family Capitellidae

Capitella capitata (Click to enlarge)
Capitella capitata (collected from Victoria Habour).  Lateral view of anterior region. Capitella capitata (Click to enlarge)

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Capitellidae
Capitellidae (collected from Tathong Channel).  Lateral view of anterior region.

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Capitellidae (Click to enlarge)

Capitellidae (collected from Tathong Channel).  Lateral view of entire worm. 

Capitellidae (Click to enlarge)

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Order Capitellida
Family Capitellidae

Features
Body: cylindrical and slender
Prostomium: short, truncate, conical and no appendages
Eye: absent
Antennae: absent
Cirri: absent
Palp: absent
Pharynx: eversible
Parapodium: biramous or absent
Setea: capillary setae in thorax
(Fauchald 1977)

Biological Notes
        In general appearance, the capitellids resemble earthworms.   They burrow in sandy mud.   The eversible proboscis is used for burrowing.   Their thorax is stout, muscular and highly extensible.   When the thorax is extended, the abdominal segments with the long rows of hooks grip the substrate (Day 1967).

        Capitella lives in black mud and estuaries.   They are able to tolerate very low oxygen tensions.   Therefore, enormous numbers can be found in polluted areas such as harbour basins.  Capitella capitata are very useful organisms that can be used as indicator of organic pollution.   They dominate in Victoria Habour where is polluted from sewage and development activities.


Genera and Species Reported in Hong Kong

Capitella capitata
Heteromastus similis
Mediomastus californiensis
Notomastus latericeus
Octocapitella
sp.
Paraleiocapitella
sp.

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