Body usually long and slender with many segments. Prostomium with two or three antennae and two similar palps. 0-2 eyes present. Pharynx eversible, long, cylindrical, with terminal papillae, without jaws.
Peristomium limited to lips.
First segment reduced, with tentacular cirri. Two to four pairs of tentacular cirri present on maximal three segments.
Parapodia usually uniramous, occasionally sub-biramous, usually bearing compound chaetae only, sometimes notopodial capillaries present. An aciculum present. Dorsal cirri more or less foliose. Ventral cirri present.
Pygidium with two cirri, a median pygidial papilla may be present (Phyllodocidae).
Phyllodocids are found on all kinds of substrata, from the littoral to the greatest depths as members of both in- and epifauna. The largest number of species is usually found in mixed sediments, particularly those with rock, gravel or shell gravel, but quite a number occur on soft bottoms. Most species are very active carnivores, though scavenging may also be common.
All known species have separate sexes. Eggs are often deposited in mucus bags. Larval development is planctonic with a plankto- or lecithotrophic trochophore. Direct development is not known.
After: Fauchald and Rouse, 1997 and Pleijel and Dales, 1991.
For identification to species level, jump to the Picture key: Page 396: Phyllodocidae
The following taxa of this family occur in the region: