PORT PHILLIP BAY


Tube Worm 

Salmacina australis Haswell, 1884

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.
Calcareous tube structure smooth; no projection extending over the tube opening, tube: fine and twisted, forming an intricate coral-like mass. Body colour: colour in life is faint pink with a number of minute crimson dots on the prostomium. Pseudoperculum or rudimentary operculum absent. Operculum absent. Eye spots on the prostomium or branchial radioles present; 2 eyes. 4 pairs of branchial radioles. Pinnule-free tips of the branchial radioles absent. Branchial interradiolar membrane absent. White or colourles, short stems, with or without spatulate enlargements at their tips. Collar chaetae present, limbate or with dentate boss or processes sub-terminally (bayonet-shaped). 5-9 thoracic chaetigers. Thoracic membrane present, not connected dorsally. Thoracic sickle notochaetae present. Abdominal chaetae geniculate (bent like a knee), with dentate margin from bend to tip. Thoracic uncini with numerous teeth. Thoracic uncini with more than 2 vertical rows of teeth. Anterior abdominal uncini with more than 2 vertical rows of teeth.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Annelida
Class:
Polychaeta
Order:
Sabellida
Family:
Serpulidae
Subfamily:
Serpulinae
Genus:
Salmacina
Species:
australis

General Description

Members of this genus build an open aggregation of numerous smooth tiny branching tubes that form a lace-like irregular network over the substrate. An operculum is absent, as is a radiolar membrane. Currently only a single species in southern Australia, Salmacina australis, is recognised with these characters. Tubes up to about 5 cm long, diameter 1 mm or less.

Biology

Salmacina species are able to reproduce asexually, by budding off new individuals.

Habitat

Hard surfaces such as ship hulls and rocky substrates, intertidal to continental shelf depths

Reefs

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

Northern and southern Australia.

Species Group

Worms Tube worms

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

5 cm

Diet

Organic matter

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Species Code

MoV 3375

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, Tube Worm, Salmacina australis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 25 Jul 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/11179

Text: creative commons cc by licence