Gattyana ciliata Moore, 1902

Common name(s): Ciliated scaleworm

Synonyms: Gattyana ciliata
Phylum Annelida 
Order Phyllodocida 
Superfamily Aphroditacea 
Gattyana ciliata, 5 cm long, captured by otter trawl at 80 m depth in San Juan Channel. Head is to the left, and the right front scale (elytra) has detached. Note the fuzzy appearance on the scales, which is due both to the texture of the scales themselves and to debris and diatoms which seems to attach to them.
(Photo by:  Dave Cowles, July 2023)

Description:  Polynoids (scaleworms) are a large family of actively-foraging or symbiotic polychaetes with much or all of their dorsal side covered with scale-like elytra. Members of genus Gattyana have 15 pairs of elytra and 35-40 segments, a bilobed anterior edge of the prostomium, plus their lateral  prostomial  antennae are inserted directly ventrally to the median  antennaeGattyana ciliata has 15 pairs of elytra which cover the entire dorsal side (see photo above), but less than 50 segments as visible on the ventral side (photo).  The neurosetae are thick,  simple, and amber (photo), and none of the neurosetae are bifid at the tip. The notosetae are capillary setae, much narrower than the neurosetae (photo). The lateral  antennae of the prostomium are inserted ventrally to the medial  antennae rather than at the anterior edge of the prostomium (photo). The exposed dorsal surface of the elytra do not have distinct, polygonal subsections but they do have several fairly large conical tubercles with truncated summits, especially along the free posterior margin of the elytra (photo). Other parts of the elytra have various smaller bumps and projections. Length to 8 cm.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species:Gattyana cirrosa and several other species has notosetae of two types, with the most dorsal thick and blunt, plus the elytra do not have the large conical tubercles along the posterior edge.

Geographical Range:  Alaska to Washington on the NE Pacific coast. Also reported from Japan.

Depth Range:  Subtidal

Habitat:  Travels over a variety of habitats, including soft and rocky substrates.

Biology/Natural History:



Dichotomous Keys:
  Kozloff, 1987, 1996

General References:
  Lamb and Hanby, 2005

Scientific Articles:

Web sites:

General Notes and Observations: Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:
Ventral side
This view of the ventral side (head to left) shows the individual segments under the elytra. The amber-colored neurosetae are most evident on each parapodial segment, while the thinner capillary  notosetae are visible behind (dorsal to) them. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2023

Ventral prostomium-peristomium
This ventral view of the anterior end shows the medial  antennae projecting forward (upward in the photo) from the prostomium, with the lateral  antennae based just ventral to them. The visible mouth is on the peristomium, which is the segment immediately behind the prostomium. To the right, the cluster of thick, amber, bristle-like neurosetae are seen, while dorsal to them (above and behind the neurosetae in the photo) are the thinner, capillary  notosetae.

This dorsal view of the anterior end (facing right) shows the several sets of prostomial  antennae. The right front elytra has dropped off but the bumps and tubercles along the other elytra, especially along their posterior margins, can be seen. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2023.

Dorsal elytra and chetae
This dorsal closeup view of the animal's side shows the fine notosetae and coarser amber neurosetae behind (ventral to) them projecting from each parapodium. The textured surface of the elytra is also visible. Anterior is to the right. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2023.

Ventral setae view
This ventral view shows the individual parapodia and a closer view of the neurosetae, with the smaller capillary  notosetae behind them. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2023.

Detached elytra
This dorsal view of a detached elytra shows the smooth anterior surface (upper in this photo) where it was fitted under the elytra  anterior to it, along with the bumpy texture and fringing papillae along the exposed surface. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2023.

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2023):  Created original page
CSS coding for page developed by Jonathan Cowles

Salish Sea Invertebrates web site provided courtesy of Walla Walla University