BIOTIC Species Information for Serpula vermicularis
|Researched by||Lizzie Tyler||Data supplied by||University of Sheffield|
|Refereed by||This information is not refereed.|
|Scientific name||Serpula vermicularis||Common name||A tubeworm|
|MCS Code||P1343||Recent Synonyms||None|
|Additional Information||None entered|
|Taxonomy References||Howson & Picton, 1997, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Holt et al., 1998, Fish & Fish, 1996,|
|Growth form||Vermiform segmented
||Feeding method||Passive suspension feeder
Active suspension feeder
|Typical food types||Detritus||Habit||Tubiculous|
|Bioturbator||Not relevant||Flexibility||Insufficient information|
|Height||See additional text||Growth Rate||mean of 9 mm of tube/month|
|Adult dispersal potential||None||Dependency||Independent|
|General Biology Additional Information||The tube is attached to hard substrata at the base but in reef aggregations is often free for much of its length. Height above the substratum varies but in reefs individual tubes may reach up to 18 cm, while the reefs themsleves vary between 75 cm and 2 m in hieght (Holt et al., 1998).
Dense aggregations of Serpula vermicularis tubes occur in enclosed and sheltered locations. These dense settlements of larvae on adult tubes may indicate larval gregarity but Bosence (1979(b)) suggests that aggregations only occur in locations with larval retention and few other hard substrates available for larval settlement. In the open marine environment Serpula vermicularis is not normally gregarious.
|Biology References||Holt et al., 1998, Fish & Fish, 1996, Bosence, 1979(b), Heidi Tillin, unpub data,|
|Distribution and Habitat|
|Distribution in Britain & Ireland||Distributed mainly around the north-west coast of Scotland. Also present on the north-east coast of England and the north-west coast of Ireland with scattered records around much of the coast of Britain and Ireland.|
|Global distribution||Thought to be distributed in the north east Atlantic and the Mediterranean.|
|Biogeographic range||Not researched||Depth range|
|Migratory||Non-migratory / Resident|
|Distribution Additional Information||Global distribution
Although it is reported that Serpula vermicularis has a world-wide distribution, there is a great deal of taxonomic confusion and it is currently thought that the species is limited to the north east Atlantic and the Mediterranean (Holt et al., 1998). There is also the possibility that within the Mediterranean it is actually part of a complex of two or three species (ten Hove pers. comm. cited in Holt et al., 1998).
|Substratum preferences||Other species (see additional information)
Artificial (e.g. metal/wood/concrete)
Large to very large boulders
|Physiographic preferences||Open coast
Strait / sound
|Biological zone||Sublittoral Fringe
|Wave exposure||Moderately Exposed
|Tidal stream strength/Water flow||Weak (<1 kn)
||Salinity||Full (30-40 psu)
|Habitat Preferences Additional Information||None entered|
|Distribution References||Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Holt et al., 1998, Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b,|
|Reproductive Season||Summer months||Reproductive Location||Insufficient information|
|Reproductive frequency||Regeneration potential||No|
|Life span||3-5 years||Age at reproductive maturity||1 year|
|Generation time||Insufficient information||Fecundity|
|Egg/propagule size||Fertilization type||Insufficient information|
|Reproduction Preferences Additional Information||Age at maturity and life span
Orton (1914) observed that ten month old individuals of Serpula vermicularis in the south west of England could successfully reproduce.
Larval settling time
The length of the planktonic stage is unknown but comparison with other serpulid species suggests it may be between six days and two months (Holt et al., 1998).
Spawning seems to occur in the summer. In the Clyde area Elmhirst (1922) observed spawning to occur in June to August and in Plymouth ripe individuals were seen in August and September (Allen, 1915).
|Reproduction References||Holt et al., 1998, Fish & Fish, 1996, Allen, 1915, Bosence, 1979(b), Orton, 1914, Elmhirst, 1922, Heidi Tillin, unpub data,|