Family Sternaspidae

Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

Sternaspis scutata (collected from off Waglan Island).  Ventral view of entire worm.

Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

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Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

Sternaspis scutata (collected from off Waglan Island).  Dorsal view of entire worm.

Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

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Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)
Sternaspis scutata (collected from off Waglan Island).  Ventral view of anterior region. Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

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Setae of Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

Setae at posterior region of Sternaspis scutata.

Setae of Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

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Setae of Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)
Setae at posterior region of Sternaspis scutata. Setae of Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

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Seta of Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

Seta at posterior region of Sternaspis scutata.

Seta of Sternaspis scutata (Click to enlarge)

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Order Sternaspida
Family Sternaspidae

Features
Body: short, swollen, ovoid or dumb-bell shaped body with indistinct segmentation; segment 7 with genital papillae; the next 8 segments not visibly setose; the final segments covered by a stiff, chitinized, mineral-impregnated shield surrounded with setae
Prostomium: small and no appendage
Eye: absent
Antennae: absent
Cirri: absent
Palp: 2
Pharynx: eversible and axial; can be inverted with the first three segments which have rows of acicular setae
Parapodium: absent
Setea: simple including fine and smooth or stouter and pilose capillaries
(Fauchald 1977)

Biological Notes
        Sternaspis is the only genus known for this family.   They are the most easily recognized polychaetes with the dark yellow or reddish chitinized shield.   They are common in sandy and muddy substrates in all depths.   They feed on buried organic matters and burrow head downwards.   The short, stout spines on the first three segments are for digging.   The entrance of the burrow is covered by the hard anal plates.   The filamentous gills can be extended into the water above (Day 1967).


Genera and Species Reported in Hong Kong

Sternaspis scutata

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