Sternaspis scutata   Ranzani,  1817 (Marine Worm)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Polychaeta

Dennis R. Seaward

Individual removed from soft mud. Image width ca XX cm.

Size: 10-30 mm. by 8-10 mm.

Color: Whitish-grey

Sternaspis scutata is a stout burrowing worm, with a leathery texture. The body is divided into 20-22 segments, the first seven forming the anterior region, the remainder forming the posterior region. The anterior region is much smaller and narrower than the posterior region into which it can withdraw. The head is reduced and bears a small translucent rounded prostomium above the mouth. The first segment behind the head forms a peristomium that is covered by short papillae. The 2nd-4th segments are each marked by a row of dark spines on either side. Two tubular papillae mark the division between the anterior and posterior region at the 7th and 8th segments. The remaining posterior segments are covered on the ventral surface by a pair of brown stiff plates that both bear a bundle of 15-17 chaetae that are much longer and more noticeable than the notochaetae. Numerous long, slender, occasionally spiralled gills extend from the posterior.Body sausage like, narrowed in the middle, expanding at both ends. The anterior segments often retracted into the following ones. Prostomium reduced to a mere small knob. Shield plate divided into two unequal parts by a slanting line and marked with ridges and striea.

Synonym (s)
Sternaspis scutata Hartman, 1974
Sternaspis scutata Hartmann-Schroder, 1996
Sternaspis scutata Kiseleva, 1971
Sternaspis scutata Wesenberg-Lund, 1949
Thalassema scutatum Ranzani, 1817
Sternaspis scutata Fauvel, 1927
Echinorhynchus scutatus Renier, 1807
Echinorhynchus scutatus clypeatus Renier in Vejdovsky, 1882
(Heterotypic synonym)
Schreiberius bremsii Otto, 1821
(Heterotypic synonym)
Sternaspis affinis Stimpson, 1864
(Heterotypic synonym)
Sternaspis assimilis Malmgren, 1867
(Heterotypic synonym)
Sternaspis costata Marenzeller, 1879
(Heterotypic synonym)
Sternaspis islandica Malmgren, 1867
(Heterotypic synonym)
Sternaspis thalassemoides Otto, 1821
(Heterotypic synonym)
Thalassema scutata Ranzani, 1817
(Heterotypic synonym)
Sternaspis scutata Renier, 1807
Sternaspis scutata Moore, 1903

Common Name (s)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Benthic, Estuarine, Sandy, Muddy, Coastal


• Andhra Pradesh, Godavari Estuary (Lat: 16.63) (Long: 82.3) INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Lat: 13.09) (Long: 80.29) INDIA
• Goa (Lat: 15.65) (Long: 73.74) INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Parangipettai Coast (Lat: 11.48) (Long: 79.76) INDIA
• West Bengal, Jharkhali, Banamali Khal INDIA (Record: 23/09/1984)
• Southwest Coast INDIA
• Kerala, Kochi Estuary INDIA (Record: 03/1974-03/1976)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands INDIA
• Orissa, Chilika Lake INDIA
• Orissa, Ganjam Coast INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Andhra Pradesh, Kakinada Bay INDIA
• Maharashtra, Ratnagiri (Lat: 17.01) (Long: 73.25) INDIA (Record: 01/2006)
• Goa, Marmagao (Lat: 15.46) (Long: 73.65) INDIA (Record: 01/2006)
• Maharashtra, Mahim Creek (Lat: 19.03) (Long: 72.82) INDIA (Record: 11/1979-12/1980)
• Kerala, Munambam INDIA
• Goa, Marmagao Bay INDIA
• Goa, Marmagao (Lat: 15.41) (Long: 73.78) INDIA
• Arabian Sea INDIA
• Karnataka, Mangalore INDIA
• Kerala, Calicut INDIA
• North West Coast INDIA
• Karnataka, Mangalore INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Kerala, Kannur INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Kerala, Calicut INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Kerala, Ponnani INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Kerala, Kochi INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Kerala, Kollam INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Kerala, Vizhinjam INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Tamil Nadu, Nagapattinam INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Tamil Nadu, Thondi INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Tamil Nadu, Porto Novo INDIA
• Kerala, Kochi INDIA (Record: 12/2006-01/2007) (Depth: 26-28 mts)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA (Record: 12/2006-01/2007) (Depth: 26-28 mts)
• Andhra Pradesh, Nizampatnam INDIA (Record: 12/2006-01/2007) (Depth: 26-28 mts)
• Andhra Pradesh, Machilipatnam INDIA (Record: 12/2006-01/2007) (Depth: 26-28 mts)
• West Bengal, South 24 Parganas INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Tikadar, BK; Daniel, A and Subbarao, NV (1986) Sea shore animals of Andaman and Nicobar Islands The Director, ZSI, Kolkatta 188 Available at - ZSI, Pune
  • (2001) Fauna of Godavari estuary, Andhra Pradesh Estuarine ecosystem series 4 ZSI, Kolkata 1-166 Available at - ZSI, Pune
  • Eibye-Jacobson, D (Ed) (2002) Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Polychaetes of the Andaman Sea, Phuket Marine Biological Center, Department of Fisheries, Thailand, 3 June-27 August 1997 Phuket Marine Biological Center Special Publication no. 24 Phuket Marine Biological Center, Phuket, Thailand 424 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Wehe, T and Fiege, D (2002) Annotated checklist of the polychaete species of the seas surrounding the Arabian Peninsula: Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Gulf Fauna of Arabia 19 7-238 Available at -
  • Khan, AS and Murugesan, P (2005) Polychaete diversity in Indian estuaries Indian Journal of Marine Sciences National Institute of Science Communication And Information Resources, CSIR, New Delhi, India, in association with Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, INDIA 34(1) 114-119 Available at -
  • Rodrigues, NR (2003) Benthic ecology and bioturbation in the coastal waters of Goa, India Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Srikrishnadhas, B; Murugesan, P and Khan, SA (1998) Polychaetes of Parangipettai coast Annamalai University, Parangipettai 110 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • MarLIN: Marine life information network Biology and sensitivity key information sub-programme [on-line] Available at -
  • Misra, A (1995) Polychaetes Estuarine ecosystem series, Part 2: Hugli Matla Estuary ZSI, Calcutta 93-155 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Jayaraj, KA; Sheeba, P; Jacob, J; Revichandran, C; Arun, PK; Praseeda, KS; Nisha, PA and Rasheed, KA (2007) Response of infaunal macrobenthos to the sediment granulometry in a tropical continental margin-southwest coast of India Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science Elsevier 77(4) 743-754 Available at -
  • Pillai, NGK (2001) On some benthic polychaetes from Cochin Estuary Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 43(1&2) 120-135 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Raut, D; Ganesh, T; Murty, NVSS and Raman, AV (2005) Macrobenthos of Kakinada Bay in the Godavari delta, East coast of India: comparing decadal changes Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science Elsevier 62(4) 609-620 Available at -
  • Ingole, B; Sivadas, S; Nanajkar, M; Sautya, S and Nag, A (2008) A comparative study of macrobenthic community from harbours along the central west coast of India Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Springer 154(1-4) 135-146 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Varshney, PK and Govindan, K (1995) Macrobenthos off Mahim (Bombay), west coast of India in relation to coastal pollution and aquaculture Journal of Indian Fisheries Association Indian Fisheries Association 25 47-56 Available at -
  • Thomas, JV; Sreedevi, C and Kurup, BM (2006) Variations on the infaunal polychaetes due to bottom trawling along the inshore waters of Kerala (south-west coast of India) Indian Journal of Marine Sciences 35(3) 249-256 Available at -
  • Sivadas, S; Ingole, B and Nanajkar, M (2010) Benthic polychaetes as good indicators of anthropogenic impact Indian Journal of Marine Sciences NISCAIR 39(2) 201-211 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Sivadas, S; Ingole, B and Nanajkar, M (2011) Temporal variability of macrofauna from a disturbed habitat in Zuari estuary, west coast of India Environ Monit Assess Springerlink 173 65-78 Available at -
  • Joydas, TV and Damodaran, R (2009) Infaunal macrobenthos along the shelf waters of the west coast of India, Arabian Sea Indian Journal of Marine Sciences Scientific Publishers 38(2) 191-204 Available at -
  • James, PSBR ; Thomas, PA ; Pillai, CSG and Achari Kumaraswamy, GP (1969) Catalogue of types and of sponges, corals, polychaetes, crabs and echinoderms in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 7 1-66 Available at -
  • Jayaraj, KA; Josia, J and Kumar, PKD (2008) Infaunal Macrobenthic Community of Soft Bottom Sediment in a Tropical Shelf Journal of Coastal Research CERF 24(3) 708–718 Available at -
  • Devi, KS; Sheba, P; Balasubramanian, T; Venugopal, P and Sankaranarayanan, VN (1996) Benthic fauna of southwest and southeast coasts of India The Fourth Indian Fisheries Forum Proceedings, Kochi, Kerala Asian Fisheries Society, Indian Branch, Mangalore 9-12 Available at -
  • Srikrishnadhas, B; Ramamoorthi, K and Balasubrahmanyan, K (1987) Polychaetes of Porto Novo waters Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The marine biological association of India 29(1&2) 134-139 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Fauvel, P (1953) The fauna of India including Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma and Malaya: Annelida, Polychaeta The Indian press ltd., Allahabad 507 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Musale, AS and Desai, DV (2011) Distribution and abundance of macrobenthic polychaetes along the south Indian coast Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Springer 178(1-4) 423-436 Available at -
  • Mitra, S; Misra, A (2010) Polychaetes of the Wetlands of West Bengal Journal of Environment and Sociobiology Social Environmental and Biological Association, Kolkata, India 7(2) 141-146 Available at - NIO,Goa

Page last updated on:2011-10-25

Back to Search