Lepidonotus squamatus (Linnaeus, 1767)
Common name(s): Rusty scaleworm
|Synonyms: Aphrodita squamatus, Lepidonotus caelorus|
|Lepidonotus squamatus, about 10 mm long. This individual has lost a few anterior elytra.|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, July 2009 )|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Other Polynoid scaleworms have more than 12 pairs of elytra (usually 15 or more).
Note: Leslie Harris (personal communication), a polychaete specialist from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, says this individual does not look right to be L. squamatus, and that they also are not likely to be found along our coast. It may perhaps be L. spiculus, which does not appear in either the Kozloff key nor the Carlton key.
Geographical Range: Cosmopolitan, Atlantic and Pacific. On our coast from Alaska to California.
Depth Range: Low intertidal to 46 m or more.
Habitat: Free-living in kelp holdfasts, under rocks, and among barnacles or mussels.
This species often curls into a ball when disturbed. Omnivorous,
feeding both on animals and on algae. Sexually mature males are pale
due to sperm within the body, while females are dark gray to green.
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O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
General Notes and Observations: Locations,
abundances, unusual behaviors:
This dorsal view of the anterior body shows the rough elytra (several are missing). Note the particles of debris adhering to the elytra and elsewhere, and the brownish coloration on the elytra.