PORT PHILLIP BAY


Intertidal Tube Worm 

Galeolaria caespitosa Lamarck, 1818

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Family level description.
Serpulidae are tube-dwelling polychaetes which build and live within calcareous tubes. Apart from one genus of tropical Sabellidae, these are the only polychaete family to construct calcareous tubes, which may be solitary, or in dense aggregations. In almost all serpulids there are 7 thoracic segments bearing chaetae, plus a variable number of abdominal segments. A radiolar crown of feeding tentacles is present, and nearly all serpulids have one tentacle modified to form a variably ornamented operculum which closes the tube when the worm retracts within.

Species level technical description.
Operculum with 9-11 movable calcareous spines dentate on outer margin. , operculum with 3-4 dentate calcareous basal plates surrounded by a fringe of much smaller marginal plates. Eye spots on the prostomium or branchial radioles absent. 23 pairs of branchial radioles. Pinnule-free tips of the branchial radioles present. Branchial interradiolar membrane present. Branchial crown radioles arranged in 2 (semi)circles. Short radioles with prominent white band just below its free edge; predominant colour is greenish-olive with bands of black and white; interradiolar membrane is 1/3rd of radiole length; short pinnule-free tips. Collar chaetae present, limbate or capillary; short and fine. 7 thoracic chaetigers. Thoracic membrane present, not connected dorsally. Thoracic sickle notochaetae absent. Abdominal chaetae geniculate (bent like a knee), with dentate margin from bend to tip; hollow-tipped (cornet-shaped) with 2 rows of teeth along the edge, with prolonged tip at one side; usually 4 per fasicle. Thoracic uncini with few teeth, 7-10 teeth. Thoracic uncini with 1 vertical row of teeth. Shape of anterior peg gouged, seemingly bifid. Anterior abdominal uncini with 1 vertical row of teeth. 8-12 teeth.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Annelida
Class:
Polychaeta
Order:
Sabellida
Family:
Serpulidae
Subfamily:
Serpulinae
Genus:
Galeolaria
Species:
caespitosa

Other Names

  • Sydney Coral

General Description

In members of this genus the tube has two major dorsal keels. An inter-radiolar membrane is present. Galeolaria is the only genus of serpulid worms to have opercula ornamented with movable calcareous spines. Individuals up to about 2 cm long, colonies may be massive.

Biology

Recent DNA studies have shown that this very common serpulid worm comprises two distinct species: Galaeolaria caespitosa occurs in south-western Australia to Port Phillip Bay and to Tasmania, while Galeolaria geminoea occurs in New South Wales and southern Queensland. Although the two species are genetically very distinct, they cannot be separated morphologically.

Habitat

Hard substrates such as intertidal rocky shores and pier piles.

Reefs

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Worms Tube worms

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

2 cm

Diet

Organic matter

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Species Code

MoV 3343

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Wilson, R.

Robin Wilson is a Senior Curator of marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Wilson, R., 2011, Intertidal Tube Worm, Galeolaria caespitosa, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 30 May 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/11175

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