• Contains description
  • Contains photos


USNM 23799

Geographic Distribution

Antarctic Convergence illustration Antarctic convergence

Bathymetric Specimen Dispersal

51 individual specimens found for Harmothoe spinosa.

Harmothoe spinosa Kinberg, 1855  Species

Original Description
Inactive node Show the full description

Original Description
Active node Hide the full description


(Pl. X LI., figs. 1-4, and Pl. XLIII., figs. 1-2 and 4-8.)

Harmothoë spinosa, Kinberg, J. G. H., 1855. Ofv. Ak. Forh., Stockholm, p. 386. Id., 1857. ‘Eugenics Resa,’ p. 21, Taf. VI., fig. 31. Ehlers, E., 1897, Polychaeten, Hamburg. Magalhaens. Sammebreise, p. 12.

This species seems to be the representative, in the Antarctic regions, of the northern species H. imbricata (L.), the principal difference between them, so far as I can ascertain by comparison of specimens, relating to the situs oculorum. In the Antarctic species the four eyes are visible from above, while H. imbricata, as pointed out by McIntosh,1 shows only a single pair of eyes in dorsal view, the anterior pair being concealed below the frontal cones. Both species present a very great range of variation in the fimbriation and pigmentation of the elytra, which has been alluded to by Ehlers (1897) and McIntosh (1900).

The number of segments, including the buccal segment, frequently adds up to thirty-seven, but this number possibly represents a particular condition in which the worms are commonly taken, and may not have the significance of a fixed quantity. In one case twenty normal segments are followed abruptly by twelve to thirteen small regenerated segments ; another specimen of 40 mm. has thirty-eight segments ; in a third specimen of 33 mm. the segments, thirty-four in number, taper to a point behind, but no anal cirri are present.2

Judging from the material at my disposal, the variations would seem to culminate in three principal allotypic modifications, of which a brief description follows. One of these modifications is for the present retained as a distinct species (see p. 266).

1McIntosh, W. C., 1900: ' British Annelids,' Ray Soc. Monograph, p. 316.

2 Ehlers (1897) finds thirty-seven segments with length of body increasing from 12 to 45 mm. In this connection it is interesting to note that the number of segments in Lagisca vesiculosa is given both by Grube (1877) and Ehlers (1897) as forty-two. Grube's specimen was 21 mm. in length ; Ehlers gives no dimensions. The larger ‘Challenger specimens (named L. antarctica, McInt.), measuring up to 36 mm. in body-length, have no more than thirty-nine segments. The number forty-two may very well be final, in which case it will be interesting to learn how it happens that some individuals have less than the normal number of segments, while others nearly half the size have the full complement.”

(Willey, 1902)


Displaying 10 of 13 Specimens

Type Status Catalog No. Date Collected Location Coordinates Depth (m) Vessel
  23799 Images Available 1/29/1948 Ross Sea   106  
  23814 Image Available 1/15/1948 Antarctic Ocean   55  
  23822 2/15/1948 Antarctic Ocean   55  
  23824 Image Available 1/19/1948 Antarctic Ocean 66.5° S , 110.4° E 183  
  46384 Image Available 2/1/1963 Antarctic Ocean   80 Staten Island R/V
  46385 Image Available 2/14/1963 Ross Sea   13 – 27 Staten Island R/V
  46588 Image Available 2/9/1968 Weddell Sea 76° S , 55° W 400 Glacier R/V
  46589 Image Available 3/17/1968 Antarctic Ocean   40 Glacier R/V
  46590 Image Available 2/24/1969 Weddell Sea 74.47° S , 30.53° W 513 Glacier R/V
  54997 12/21/1967 Antarctic Ocean   32 – 41  

Displaying 10 of 13 Specimens

View additional taxa  View all species collected at same locations as Harmothoe spinosa