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Temporal range: Ordovician–recent
Eunice aphroditois.jpg
Eunice aphroditois
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Polychaeta
Order: Eunicida
Family: Eunicidae

Eunicidae is a family of polychaetes. Many eunicids reach a considerable size. Their jaws are known from Ordovician sediments.[1] They live throughout the seas; a few species are parasitic.[1]

One of the most conspicuous of the eunicids is the giant, dark-purple, iridescent "Bobbit worm" (Eunice aphroditois), found at low tide under boulders on southern Australian shores. Its robust, muscular body can be as long as 2 m.[2]

Some species of eunicids prey on coral. Individuals have been found living unnoticed in reef aquaria for long enough to grow to great size.[3][4]

They have an evertible proboscis.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Fauchald, K. (1992). "A review of the genus Eunice (Polychaeta: Eunicidae) based upon type material" (PDF). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. 523: 1–422. doi:10.5479/si.00810282.523. 
  2. ^ Keith Davey (2000). "Eunice aphroditois". Life on Australian Seashores. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  3. ^ Weast, Steve. "The Great Worm Incident". Oregon, USA. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  4. ^ "Giant Sea Worm Unmasked as Coral Killer". 2012-11-21. Archived from the original on November 21, 2012. Retrieved 2015-06-07.