Lugworms are relatively stout worms with a cylindrical body made up of short segments, each superficially divided into five rings, with strongly rugose epidermis.
Prostomium is small, rounded or conical, without antennae or palps.
Peristomium limited to lips. Body divided into an anterior region lacking gills, then a mid-region with branching, tufted gills each inserted dorsal to the notopodium; in the best known species this is followed by a narrower 'tail' region lacking both gills and chaetae. First segment similar to following segments, achaetous in adults.
Parapodia biramous, without aciculae. Notopodia short, distally truncate cylinders or cones; neuropodia tori. Notopodia with variously ornamented capillary chaetae. Neuropodial tori with hooks. Tentacular, dorsal and ventral cirri absent.
Pygidium without papillae or cirri (Arenicolidae).
Occupy a fairly deep burrow in sand or muddy sand; head end is indicated at the surface by a shallow conical depression; the characteristic coiled wormcasts appear at the top of the tail-shaft.
After: Fauchald and Rouse, 1997 and Hayward and Ryland, 1990.
For identification to species level, jump to the Picture key: Page 174: Arenicolidae
The following taxa of this family occur in the region: