Photograph by Walker Magnum of Anegada Horseshoe Reef


Domain: EukaryaPhotograph taken by Colin Ackerman in Grand Cayman of fireworm
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Polychaeta
Order: Aciculata
Family: Amphinomidae
Genus: Hermodice
Species: Hermodice carunculata (Pallas, 1766)

      Hermodice carunculata is classified as in the Domain Eukarya because it is an organism with cells which contain a nucleus and organelles. It is under the Kingdom Animalia because it is a heterotrophic, multicellular organism lacking cell walls, and is motile at some stage of life. The bearded fireworm is in the Phylum Annedlida because it is a segmented worm. H. carunculata is put under the Class Polychaeta along with other bristleworms because they are chaetae bearing, which are sharp protusions from the skin. It belongs to the Order Aciculata because it bears aciculae, a certain type of chaetae, along wiht ventral sensory palps and cirri. Hermodice carunculata is classified in the Amphinomidae Family because it is a jawless polychaete with a specific chaetal structure, and it has a caruncle. The Genus Hermodice refers to the bearded fireworms whom feed on coral in reef habitats throughout hte Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Atlantic.
     The meaning of the scientific name Hermodice carunculata refers to caruncle, which is a sensory organ that extends over the fireworm's mouth, and the root her- refers to attach. The scientific name can be interpreted to mean "attachs via caruncle."
Phylogenetic Tree of Amphinomidae Family

     The phylogenetic tree shown above represents the Amphinomidae Family was created using information from "A molecular phylogeny of annelids" and "The curious case of Hermodice carunculata (Annelida: Amphinomidae): evidence for genetic homogeneity throughout the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent basins." The Amphinomidae family consists of two main groups and around 200 named species; the major groups are Amphinomidae, fireworms, and Euphrosinidae, represented by Euphronsine sp. on the tree. The most closely related family is Chaetopteridae, but there is little to no support for this relationship (Rousset et al. 2003).  The closest relatives to Hermodice carunculata are from the genus Eurythoe and the genus Hermodice: Hermodice carunculata and Hermodice nigrolineata (Arias et al. 2013; Ahrens et al. 2013). Eurythoe complanata is not placed on the end of a branch because it is actually two identical organisms found in different environments, so it has not officially found a place on the phylogenetic tree (Arias et al. 2013). Until recently, Hermodice nigrolineata was actually thought to be a junior synonym of Hermodice carunculata, but it has been discovered that they have multiple differences including number of branchial filaments (Ahrens et al. 2013). Less information is known about Hipponoe guadichaudi and Paramphinome jeffreysii and their relationship to Hermodice carunculata. In conclusion, Hermodice carunculata is not the only fireworm in the big blue ocean.

Next: Habitat
References for this page
Return Home