sea mouse

sea mouse
any of several large, marine annelids of the genus Aphrodite and related genera, having a covering of long, fine, hairlike setae.

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      (Aphrodita), any of a genus of marine worms of the class Polychaeta (phylum Annelida), named for their mouselike appearance and behaviour.

      Sea mice are usually 7.5–15 centimetres (3–6 inches) long; however, some attain a length of 30 centimetres (12 inches). The slightly arched back is covered with a dense mat of hairlike setae about 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) long. The sea mouse burrows and creeps in a manner suggestive of a true mouse as it searches for dead and decaying bodies of animals—its main diet.

      Near its mouth are two pairs of feeler-like appendages. Eyes are absent. Locomotion is by means of many small, bristly, paddle-like appendages. Sea mice are hermaphroditic; i.e., functional reproductive organs of both sexes occur in the same individual. The eggs of one individual, however, are fertilized by the sperm of another.

      Sea mice are found just below the intertidal zone, usually on sandy or muddy bottoms, on both sides of the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea. Aphrodita hastata occurs on the North American coast from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Chesapeake Bay. Specimens are often found washed ashore after storms. A common European species is A. aculeata.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sea mouse — (Zo[ o]l.) (a) A dorsibranchiate annelid, belonging to {Aphrodite} and allied genera, having long, slender, hairlike set[ae] on the sides. (b) The dunlin. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sea mouse — sea′ mouse n. ivt any large oval marine annelid worm of the genus Aphrodite covered with long bristles • Etymology: 1510–20 …   From formal English to slang

  • sea mouse — n. any of a genus (Aphrodite) of large, marine polychaetes with a flat, oval body covered with bristles …   English World dictionary

  • Sea mouse — Taxobox name = Sea Mouse image caption = A. aculeata (Sea mouse) regnum = Animalia phylum = Annelida classis = Polychaeta ordo = Phyllodocida subordo = Aphroditoidea familia = Aphroditidae genus = Aphrodita species = A. aculeata binomial =… …   Wikipedia

  • sea mouse — noun any of several large worms having a broad flattened body with a mat of coarse hairs covering the back • Hypernyms: ↑polychaete, ↑polychete, ↑polychaete worm, ↑polychete worm * * * noun 1. : a large broad marine polychaete worm of Aphrodite… …   Useful english dictionary

  • sea mouse — /ˈsi maʊs/ (say see mows) noun any of various large marine annelids of the genus Aphrodite and allied genera, of a somewhat mouse like appearance, due to a covering of long, fine, hair like setae …   Australian-English dictionary

  • sea mouse — noun Date: circa 1520 any of various large broad marine polychaete worms (especially genus Aphrodite) covered with hairlike setae …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sea mouse — noun a large marine bristle worm with a stout oval body which bears matted fur like chaetae. [Genus Aphrodite.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • sea-mouse — …   Useful english dictionary

  • sea — n. 1 the expanse of salt water that covers most of the earth s surface and surrounds its land masses. 2 any part of this as opposed to land or fresh water. 3 a particular (usu. named) tract of salt water partly or wholly enclosed by land (the… …   Useful english dictionary

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