Melinna elisabethae can be up to 48 mm long. It can be found along the entire Norwegian coast, at Svalbard and in the Barents Sea at depths between 7 and 120 meters.

Type locality

St. Andrews, Scotland, UK (type material from fish stomach).

Key characters

Fig. 1. Anterior end, dorsolateral view Arrow denotes postbranchial hook.

Measurements: Up to 48 mm long.

Number of thoracic chaetigers: 18

Number of thoracic uncinigers: 14

Number of abdominal uncinigers: Up to 72.

Prostomium: With well-defined anterior and posterior parts, separated by pair of deep transverse nuchal grooves that nearly meet mid-dorsally; numerous eyespots along edge of nuchal grooves.

Mouth tentacles: Numerous, equally sized and smooth.

Branchiae: Four pairs in two basally fused groups; three branchiae in each group in oblique row slanting posteriorly towards mid-dorsum, fourth branchia in front of the middle one of the three; 40-50% of branchial length of inner- and anteriormost branchiae in each group fused together; within each group, inner anterior branchiae also fused similarly to inner posterior branchiae; remaining branchiae fused to lesser extent.

Postbranchial hooks: Broad base and strongly curved tip.

Postbranchial depression: Narrow.

Dorsal crest: With serrations, usually unequal in size.

Special features: Abdomen with small ciliated rudimentary notopodia.

Pygidium: One pair of large dorsal lobes and 6–8 smaller ventral lobes.

Tube: Thin layer of organic secretion incrusted with mud and with shell fragments attached.

Distribution

Entire Norwegian coast, Svalbard, Barents Sea; 7–120 m (Mackie and Pleijel 1995).

Similar species

Melinna elisabethae is most similar to Melinna albicincta. They can be separated by the width of the postbranchial depression, it is narrow in M. elisabethae while wide in M. albicincta, and presence or absence of eyespots, as M. elisabethae has numerous eyespots while M. albicincta lacks eyespots.

Sources

Mackie ASY og Pleijel F (1995). A review of the Melinna cristata-species group (Polychaeta: Ampharetidae) in the northeastern Atlantic. Mitteilungen aus dem Hamburgischen zoologischen Museum und Institut 92: 103-124.

Personal observations, Alvestad T.