Skip to main content Accessibility help

The genus Boccardia (Polychaeta: Spionidae) associated with mollusc shells on the south coast of South Africa

  • C.A. Simon (a1), T.M. Worsfold (a2), L. Lange (a1) and J. Sterley (a1)


Three species of Boccardia (B. polybranchia, B. pseudonatrix and B. proboscidea) were associated with mollusc shells on the south and south-east coasts of South Africa. Boccardia polybranchia was widely distributed along the coast and falls within the known distribution range of this species. Comparisons with material from other, international, locations showed that some specimens have been misidentified. No characters could be found to characterize distinct species for different regions within the range of B. polybranchia, as currently recognized. Boccardia pseudonatrix was found only at the most eastern site, increasing its known distribution range. Boccardia proboscidea, a non-indigenous species, was found only on abalone farms and was most abundant in the west.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: C.A. Simon, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa email:


Hide All
Augener, H. (1918) Polychaeta. In Michaelsen, W. (ed.) Beiträge zur Kenntnis des Meeresfauna West-Afrikas. Hamburg, 2, 67625.
Bailey-Brock, J.H. (2000) A new record of the polychaete Boccardia proboscidea (Family Spionidae), imported to Hawai'i with oysters. Pacific Science 54, 2730.
Blake, J.A. (1983) Polychaetes of the family Spionidae from South America, Antarctica and adjacent seas and islands. In Kornicker, L. (ed.) Biology of the Antarctic Seas XIV. Antarctic Research Series 39, 205288.
Blake, J.A. and Kudenov, J.D. (1978) The Spionidae (Polychaeta) from southeastern Australia and adjacent areas with a revision of the genera. Memoirs of the Natural Museum of Victoria 39, 171280.
Borja, Á., Franco, J. and Pérez, V. (2000) A marine biotic index to establish the ecological quality of soft-bottom benthos within European estuarine and coastal environments. Marine Pollution Bulletin 40(12), 11001114.
Carazzi, D. (1893) Revisione del genere Polydora Bosc, e cenni su due specie che vivono sulle ostriche. Mitteilungen aus der Zoologischen Station zu Neapel 11, 445, pl. 2.
Day, J.H. (1955) The Polychaeta of South Africa. Part 3. Sedentary species from Cape shores and estuaries. Journal of the Linnaean Society, Zoology 4, 407452.
Day, J.H. (1961) The polychaete fauna of South Africa. Part 6. Sedentary species dredged off Cape coasts with a few new records from the shore. Journal of the Linnaean Society, Zoology 44, 463560.
Day, J.H. (1967) Polychaeta of southern Africa. Part 2. Sedentaria. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History), London, 878 pp.
Elías, R., Rivero, M.S., Palacios, J.R. and Villarino, E.A. (2006) Sewage-induced disturbance on polychaetes inhabiting intertidal mussel beds of Brachidontes rodriguezii off Mar del Plata (SW Atlantic, Argentina). Scientia Marina 70, 187196.
Fauvel, P. (1927) Polychètes sedentaires. Addenda aux errantes, Archiannélides, Myzostomaires. Faune de France 16, 1494.
Gibson, G., Paterson, I.G., Taylor, H. and Woolridge, B. (1999) Molecular and morphological evidence of a single species, Boccardia proboscidea (Polychaeta: Spionidae), with multiple development modes. Marine Biology 134, 743751.
Hartman, O. (1940) Boccardia proboscidea, a new species of spionid worm from California. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 30, 382387.
Haswell, W.A. (1885) On a destructive parasite of the rock oyster. Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales 10, 273279.
Hewitt, C.L., Campbell, M.L., Thresher, R.E., Martin, R.B., Boyd, S., Cohen, B.F., Currie, D.R., Gomon, M.F., Keough, M.J., Lewis, J.A., Lockett, M.M., Mays, N., McArthur, M.A., O'Hara, T.D., Poore, G.C.B., Ross, D.J., Storey, M.J., Watson, J.E. and Wilson, R.S. (2004) Introduced and cryptogenic species in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia. Marine Biology 144, 183202.
Imajima, M. and Hartman, O. (1964) The polychaetous annelids of Japan. I–II. Allan Hancock Foundation Occasional Papers, no. 26, 1452.
Kinberg, J. (1910) Kongliga Svenska Fregatten Eugenies Resa omkring jorden under befäl af C.A. Virgin åren 1851–1853. Zoologi. 3. Annulater, K. Svenska Vetenskapsakademien, Stockholm, pp. 178, 29 plates.
Martínez, J., Adarraga, I. and López, E. (2006) Neuvos datos del género Boccardia Carazzi, 1893 (Polychaeta: Spionida) para la península Ibérica y el océano Atlántico. Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía 22, 5364.
Petch, D.A. (1995) Morphological variation in the spionid polychaete Boccardia proboscidea. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 107, 2530.
Qian, P.Y. and Chia, F.S. (1997) Structure of feeding palps and feeding behaviour of the spionid polychaete Polydora polybranchia. Bulletin of Marine Science 60, 502511.
Radashevsky, V.I. and Olivares, C. (2005) Polydora uncinata (Polychaeta: Spionidae) in Chile: an accidental transportation across the Pacific. Biological Invasions 7, 489496.
Read, G.B. (2004) Guide to New Zealand shell polychaetes. Web publication. Accessed 6 November 2008.
Ruellet, T. (2004) Infestation des coquilles d'huîtres Crassostrea gigas par les polydores en Basse-Normandie: recommandations et mise au point d'un traitement pour réduire cette nuisance. PhD thesis. Université de Caen/Basse-Normandie, France.
Sato-Okoshi, W. (2000) Polydorid species (Polychaeta: Spionidae) in Japan, with descriptions of morphology, ecology and burrow structure. 2. Non-boring species. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 80, 443456.
Sato-Okoshi, W. and Okoshi, K. (1997) Survey of the genera Polydora, Boccardiella and Boccardia (Polychaeta, Spionidae) in Barkley Sound (Vancouver Island, Canada), with special reference to boring activity. Bulletin of Marine Science 60, 482493.
Sato-Okoshi, W., Okoshi, K. and Shaw, J. (2008) Polydorid species (Polychaeta: Spionidae) in south-western Australian waters with special reference to Polydora uncinata and Boccardia knoxi. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 88, 491502.
Sato-Okoshi, W. and Takatsuka, M. (2001) Polydora and related genera (Polychaeta: Spionidae) around Puerto Montt and Chiloé Island with description of a new species of Dipolydora. Bulletin of Marine Science 68, 485503.
Simon, C.A. and Booth, A.J. (2007) Population structure and growth of polydorid polychaetes that infest the cultured abalone, Haliotis midae. African Journal of Marine Science 29, 499509.
Simon, C.A., Ludford, A. and Wynne, S. (2006) Spionid polychaetes infesting cultured abalone, Haliotis midae, in South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science 28, 167171.
Söderström, A. (1920) Studien über Polychäten-familie Spionidae. Dissertation, Uppsala.
Vallarino, E.A., Rivero, M.S., Gravina, M.C. and Elías, R. (2002) The community-level response to sewage impact in intertidal mytilid beds of the southwestern Atlantic and the use of the Shannon index to assess pollution. Revista de Biología Marina y Oceanografía 37, 2533.
Woodwick, K.H. (1963) Comparison of Boccardia columbiana Berkeley and Boccardia proboscidea Hartman (Annelida, Polychaeta). Bulletin of the Society of the California Academy of Sciences 62, 132139.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

The genus Boccardia (Polychaeta: Spionidae) associated with mollusc shells on the south coast of South Africa

  • C.A. Simon (a1), T.M. Worsfold (a2), L. Lange (a1) and J. Sterley (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.