Symsagittifera roscoffensis

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Symsagittifera roscoffensis
Symsagittifera roscoffensis (from Graff, 1891).png
Original painting by Ludwig von Graff
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Acoelomorpha
Class: Acoela
Order: Acoela
Family: Sagittiferidae
Genus: Symsagittifera
Species: S. roscoffensis
Binomial name
Symsagittifera roscoffensis
(Graff, 1891)

Convoluta roscoffensis Graff, 1891

Symsagittifera roscoffensis, formerly called Convoluta roscoffensis, is a free-living acoelomorph worm.


S. roscoffensis is a small (about 15 mm long) flat worm. It assimilates the algae, Tetraselmis convolutae into its parenchymal cells, giving it a green colour.[1] For this reason, its common name in the Channel Islands is the "mint sauce worm".

Ecology and distribution[edit]

In its adult stage, the worm lives off the excesses of its symbiotic algae, although the mouth is still present posteriorly to the statocyst. The worm provides shelter and some nutritional benefits in return.

The worm can be found in shallow water on sheltered sand beaches along most of the Atlantic coast of Europe (including the coasts of Wales, Brittany, the North of Spain and Portugal).[citation needed]


The genus name was originally spelled Simsagittifera; Mamkaev & Kostenko corrected it in 1991 to Symsagittifera but Faubel et al. (2004) maintain that Simsagittifera should be retained.[2] The species name comes from the French town where it was described, Roscoff, in Brittany.

Significance to humans[edit]

S. roscoffensis is one of the model organisms for studying the development of bilaterians.

S. roscoffensis sun-bathing in a puddle at low tide.
S. roscoffensis scooped by a shell.
S. roscoffensis (in Jersey, Channel Islands)


  1. ^ Semmler, H; Bailly, X; Wanninger, A (Sep 2008), "Myogenesis in the basal bilaterian Symsagittifera roscoffensis (Acoela)" (Free full text), Frontiers in Zoology, 5: 14, doi:10.1186/1742-9994-5-14, PMC 2562460Freely accessible, PMID 18803837 
  2. ^ Anno FAUBEL; Masaharu KAWAKATSU; Eudóxia Maria FROEHLICH (E-mail:; Hugh D. JONES & Gen-yu SASAKI (Jan 24, 2004), The Present Status of Taxonomic Studies on Acoela (Platyhelminthes) in Japan (PDF), ISSN 1348-3412 

External links[edit]