Type of fouling organism: Tubeworm
Tubeworms are polychaete worms from the Phylum Annelida. Each individual tubeworm comprises a slender cylindrical body with distinctive ring-like segments. Some species secrete a tough outer tube made up of chitin to contain their body, while others living in sediment can build a case by fusing surrounding materials with mucous. The tube acts as a support and protects the body from predators. Although these adults are anchored to one spot, in most cases their top end can protrude beyond the tube to access the water column. Tubeworms can be predatory, filter- or deposit-feeders. Tubeworms are resilient animals and as well as being found in fouling communities, many species are found deep in the ocean living around vents tolerating high pressure and high temperatures.
The annelid worm Pomatoceros triqueter appears as a white, smooth, irregularly curved calcareous tube. There is a distinct ridge along the length of the tube, which tapers to a point at the tail end. The tube is usually 3.5 mm wide and up to 25 mm in length. The colour of the tube varies, but is usually bright white to cream. P. triqueter encrusts rocks, stones and shellfish.
Environment and Habitat
- Epibenthic, encrusting available hard substrates including the carapace of some decapods.
- Reproductive type: Hermaphrodite.
- Stock species particularly shellfish, oysters, scallops and mussels.
Effects and Impacts
- Can reduce the value of shellfish.
Control/ Strategies and Management
Principles of Management
C Combat Settlement
- Common throughout the north east Atlantic and Mediterranean.
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