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Copper-the Major Metal Component of Glycerid Polychaete Jaws

  • P. E. Gibbs (a1) and G. W. Bryan (a1)

Glycerids are carnivorous polychaetes and Glycera alba, for example, has been shown to feed mainly on errant polychaetes and small crustaceans, chiefly amphipods (Ockelmann & Vahl, 1970). Glycerids inject their prey with a venom containing a toxin and proteinases (Michel & Keil, 1975), produced in discrete glands (Michel, 1966, 1970), by means of four jaws placed symmetrically around the tip of the muscular proboscis. The distal, free half of each jaw is slender and curved, the basal section much broader and enclosing the ‘pulp cavity’. Attached to one side there is a jaw support (‘aileron’), usually V-shaped with unequal prongs but the shape varies considerably between species (see Wolf, 1977). The jaws are operated by strong longitudinal muscles attached to the jaw bases and supports (see Gravier, 1898). Nearly the whole length of the jaw is traversed by a fine venom canal, its position marked on the surface by a linear series of small pores (Fig. 1 A) through which the venom is probably emitted (Charletta & Boyer, 1974). In colour the jaws are a uniform shiny jet-black.

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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
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