Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 January 2011
The present paper is the first scanning electron microscope (SEM) description of a protonymphon larva of an Ammotheidae. The morphology of the first larval instar of Achelia assimilis is described in detail and illustrated for the first time. The morphological characters are compared to previous larval descriptions of other pycnogonid species. The larvae are integrated into Bain's classification of larval types within the pycnogonids (Bain, 2003a) as a ‘typical protonymphon’. Larvae were obtained from ovigerous males, caught in Punta Huinay, Huinay, Chile and analysed with light microscope and SEM. Descriptions of pycnogonid protonymphons at a species-specific level in the future will contribute to a deeper understanding of larval pycnogonid taxonomy at the level of differential diagnoses.