The function of parapodial setae in a nereidid polychaete moving on two different substrata

T Hesselberg, J F V Vincent

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Active polychaetes of the family Nereididae possess a large number of compound setae originating in seta-bundles at the distal end of the parapodium. Here we investigate the functional role of the setae in Nereis diversicolor by comparing the locomotor performance of neuropodial seta-ablated worms with normal (control, non-ablated) worms moving on sand and mud. No differences between worms walking on sand and mud were found, except that they were more submerged in the latter substratum. On both substrata, a similar decrease in forward speed and increase in wave speed and slip were found in seta-ablated worms. However, this was not associated with any changes in gait, since both amplitude and wavelength were similar for seta-ablated and control worms. This suggests that the setae are not adapted to a specific habitat. The same parameters were compared between seta-ablated and control worms swimming over the substratum, but no significant differences were found, indicating that the setae are not as important during swimming as previously thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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ID number: ISI:000239232500008


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