At least seven very similar species of paddleworms (Family Phyllodocidae) inhabit the Pacific Northwest, and distinguishing them without detailed examination is difficult. The colour of paddleworms is often spectacular, reflecting iridescent tones of violet, purple, brown, yellow and green, or patches of pigments that form distinctive patterns. Many of the paddleworms swarm to the surface waters as epitokes (reproductive individuals) to release their gametes, although not all species undergo the dramatic transformations that occur in the sea-nymphs, p. 144. One species of Phyllodoce is known to form mucus egg masses, containing as many as 10,000 eggs!

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