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Phylum Annelida
Class Polychaeta
Order Aciculata
Family Polynoidae

Pelagomacellicephala iliffei Pettibone, 1985

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Pelagomacellicephala iliffei


Taxonomic Characterization: Body flattened, tapered anteriorly and posteriorly, with long parapodia angled downward. Color: white, translucent, giving general appearance of pelagic polychaete. Postomium with rounded anterior lobes, without frontal filaments, with long median antenna. Tentaculophores without acicular process or setae. Parapodia with notopodia much shorter than neuropodia. Pharynx with 5 pairs of papillae, median ones extra long, lateral ones small; jaws with numerous basal teeth.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Length ranges from 5-9 mm

Number of Species in Genus: One

Genus Range:

  • Caicos Islands:
    • Middle Caicos Island: Pelagomacellicephala iliffei Pettibone, 1985
      • Conch Bar Cave
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Pelagomacellicephala: genus range

Species Range: Known only from Conch Bar Cave, Middle Caicos Island

Closest Related Species: Close relationship with the type-genus of the subfamily Macellicephalinae, Macellicephala.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Collected in a large 1-1.5 m deep tidal pool in a totally dark section of the cave.

Evolutionary Origins: Macellicephalinae is a subfamily of Polynoidae known primarily from the deep sea, including bathyal and abyssal depths.

Conservation Status: Restricted to a single anchialine cave on Middle Caicos Island


  • Pettibone, M. 1985. Worms from a cave in the Bahamas and from experimental wood panels in deep water off the North Atlantic (Polynoidea: Macelliecphalinae, Harmothoinae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 98(1):127-149, 6 figures, 2 tables.

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