Canalipalpata, also known as bristle-footed annelids or fan-head worms, is an order of polychaete worms, with 31 families in it including the suborder Sabellida (families Serpulidae (tubeworms) and Sabellidae (fanworms and feather duster worms) and the Alvinellidae, a family of deep-sea worms associated with hydrothermal vents.

Christmas tree worm.jpg
Christmas tree worm (Spirobranchus giganteus) in East Timor.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Polychaeta
Subclass: Sedentaria
Infraclass: Canalipalpata


Sabellastarte magnifica, magnificent feather duster worm

The Canalipalpata have no teeth or jaws.[1] Most are filter feeders. They have grooved palpi, which are covered in cilia. These cilia are used to transport food particles to the mouth. However, the cilia and grooves have been lost in the Siboglinidae family.[2]

Fossil recordEdit

The earliest known member of the Canalipalpata is Terebellites franklini, which was found in the Clouds Rapids Formation of Newfoundland, and dates from the mid Cambrian (St David's series).[3]

Use in aquariaEdit

Many species of Canalipalpata are visually attractive. Fanworms and Christmas tree worms (a type of serpulid) are recommended as species for beginners to keep in a marine aquarium.[4]


Order Canalipalpata


  1. ^ Robert D. Barnes (1980). Invertebrate Zoology (4th ed.). Holt-Saunders. ISBN 4-8337-0001-8.
  2. ^ Peter Ax (1996). Multicellular Animals: The Phylogenetic System of the Metazoa. Vol. 2. Springer-Verlag. ISBN 3-540-67406-3.
  3. ^ M.J.Benton, ed. (1993). The Fossil Record 2. Chapman & Hall. ISBN 0-412-39380-8.
  4. ^ Martyn Haywood; Sue Wells (1989). The Manual of Marine Invertebrates. Salamander Books Limited, London. ISBN 0-86101-474-X.

External linksEdit