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(O.F. Müller, 1776)

Description:
Prostomium rounded with four eyes with lenses, not in contact with each other. Palps hardly visible dorsally. Median antenna longer than lateral ones. Lateral antennae at least up to 3x as long as prostomium.
Dorsal tentacular cirri as long as lateral antennae, ventral ones half that size. Dorsal cirri of first segment, as long as median antenna or longer. All other dorsal cirri more or less alternating shorter or longer, longest about length of segment width or longer (A. prolifer-detail). Blades of compound chaetae bidentate, secondary tooth larger than terminal tooth. Parapodia from third segment with an additional needle shaped chaeta, serrated at the shaft. Pharynx with S-shaped twist. Trepan with 10-36 equal teeth.

Size:
Body up to 20 mm long for 70 segments.

Colour:
Transparent, yellowish or weakly reddish with many round transparent or yellow-orange-coloured granules. Tips of anterior appendages often reddish.

Habitat:
Between algae and hydroids on rocky shores, from the eulittoral down to 50 m deep.

Distribution:
Arctic, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, English Channel, North Sea and Skagerrak. Further South Africa.

Remark:
Hamond (1969) thought it "probable that in Norfolk waters both the intertidal and the offshore Autolytus of the brachycephalus-prolifer-edwardsi complex form a single, very variable but reproductively homogenous, population".

Autolytus prolifer