MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Lagoon sandworm (Armandia cirrhosa)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Researched byNicola White Refereed byDr Richard S.K. Barnes
AuthorityFilippi, 1861
Other common names- Synonyms-

Summary

Description

A small, ribbon-like species, less than 8 mm long with three eyes on its head. It has 26 or 27 segments that bear chitinous bristles.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Eight Acre Pond in the Keyhaven-Lymington lagoons in Hampshire; Small Mouth Spit (Portland Harbour) and East Fleet Sandbank (Fleet Lagoon) in Dorset.

Global distribution

South from the English Channel along the eastern Atlantic coasts, on Madeira and in the Mediterranean and Adriatic.

Habitat

Found in gravely, sandy and muddy substrata in water only slightly less saline than seawater.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Ventral gutter extends along whole of body.
  • 26 or 27 chaeta-bearing segments.
  • 3 eyes on the head.
  • Very small, less than 8 mm long.

Additional information

Almost nothing is known of its biology.

Listed by

Further information sources

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NBN WoRMS

Biology review

Taxonomy

PhylumAnnelidaSegmented worms e.g. ragworms, tubeworms & fanworms
ClassPolychaetaBristleworms, e.g. ragworms, scaleworms, paddleworms, fanworms and tubeworms
FamilyOpheliidae
GenusArmandia
AuthorityFilippi, 1861
Recent Synonyms

Biology

Typical abundanceModerate density
Male size range3-7mmMale size at maturity
Female size rangeVery small(<1cm)Female size at maturity
Growth formVermiform segmentedGrowth rateData deficient
Body flexibilityMobility
Characteristic feeding methodNo information, Sub-surface deposit feeder
Diet/food source
Typically feeds onDetritus
Sociability Environmental positionInfaunal
DependencyIndependent.
SupportsNo information
Is the species harmful?Data deficient

Biology information

Almost nothing is known of the biology of this species. Abundance varies markedly, from 463 individuals per metre square in Eight-Acre Pond to just 12 specimens recorded after extensive searching in the whole of the Fleet and Portland Harbour.

Habitat preferences

Physiographic preferencesIsolated saline water (Lagoon)
Biological zone preferencesLower eulittoral
Substratum / habitat preferencesMuddy sand
Tidal strength preferences
Wave exposure preferencesVery sheltered
Salinity preferencesReduced (18-30 psu), Variable (18-40 psu)
Depth range
Other preferencesNo text entered
Migration PatternNon-migratory / resident

Habitat Information

The species was formerly very abundant in Eight-Acre Pond, Hampshire, but despite repeated surveys has not been recorded there since 1990. Two new sites were discovered in Dorset in 1994, bringing the total number of sites in the UK to 3.

Life history

Adult characteristics

Reproductive type No information Reproductive frequency No information
Fecundity (number of eggs) No information Generation time Insufficient information
Age at maturity Insufficient information Season Insufficient information
Life span Insufficient information

Larval characteristics

Larval/propagule type - Larval/juvenile development Planktotrophic
Duration of larval stage No information Larval dispersal potential No information
Larval settlement period Insufficient information

Life history information

Some Armandia species are known to swarm up into the water to spawn (Rouse & Pleijel, 2001). Armandia cirrosa has planktotrophic larvae (Rouse & Pleijel, 2001).

Sensitivity reviewHow is sensitivity assessed?

Physical pressures

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence/Confidence
High Very low / none Very High Very low
Armandia cirrhosa is probably found within the top 1-2 cm of sediment so would be removed upon substratum loss. Recovery would be very low because only two extant populations of the species exist within the UK.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Very low
The species would be able to move through new sediment and re-establish itself upon smothering.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Very low
The species is probably tolerate to siltation as it occurs in lagoons where siltation naturally occurs.
No information
No information Not relevant No information Very low
The low shore position of the species suggests that it is intolerant of desiccation. However, if it lives in a mud burrow it would be sheltered from the drying effects of wind and sun. Insufficient
information is available to be able to make an accurate assessment.
No information Not relevant No information Very low
The low shore position of the species suggests that it is intolerant of emergence. However, if it lives in a mud burrow it would be sheltered from desiccation and temperature extremes. Insufficient
information is available to be able to make an accurate assessment.
No information
Intermediate High Very low
Increased water flow may wash away the worm and associated fine sediment. Recovery would be very low because only two extant populations of the spices exist within the UK
No information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
No information
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Very low
The species is probably tolerant of a change in turbidity as it is not affected by light availability.
No information
High Very High Very low
The species is within the top 1 cm of the sediment so would be removed upon increased wave exposure. The fine sediment with which the worm is usually associated would also be washed away. Tamaki (1987) observed that an unidentified species of Armandia in Japan was very susceptible to increased wave exposure because it is in the top 1 cm of the sediment.
No information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
Intermediate Moderate Moderate Very low
Armandia cirrhosa lives in the top 1-2 cm of the sediment which would be disturbed by physical disturbance caused by a passing scallop dredge or equivalent disturbance. Individuals in direct contact with the disturbance causing impact are likely to be damaged and/or killed, however, Armandia cirrhosa is very small so that a proportion of the population is likely to be missed or displaced. Therefore, an intolerance of intermediate has been recorded.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Very low
The species would probably be able to re-establish itself upon displacement.

Chemical pressures

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence/Confidence
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
Heavy metal contamination
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
Hydrocarbon contamination
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
Radionuclide contamination
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
Changes in nutrient levels
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
High None Very High Very low
The species has only been recorded at sites with reduced salinity so can therefore probably not tolerate fully marine conditions.
No information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information

Biological pressures

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence/Confidence
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Insufficient
information

Additional information

Importance review

Policy/legislation

Wildlife & Countryside ActSchedule 5, section 9
UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority
Species of principal importance (England)
Features of Conservation Importance (England & Wales)

Status

National (GB) importanceNationally rareGlobal red list (IUCN) category-

Non-native

Native-
Origin- Date Arrived-

Importance information

-none-

Bibliography

  1. Anonymous, 1999s. Saline lagoons. Habitat Action Plan. In UK Biodiversity Group. Tranche 2 Action Plans. English Nature for the UK Biodiversity Group, Peterborough., English Nature for the UK Biodiversity Group, Peterborough.

  2. Barnes, R.S.K., 1994. The brackish-water fauna of northwestern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  3. Downie, A. J., 1996. The Lagoon Sandworm Armandia cirrhosa. English Nature Research Reports, 202, 26pp.

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  5. Rouse, G.W. & Pleijel, F., 2001. Polychaetes. New York: Oxford University Press.

  6. Tamaki, A., 1987. Comparison of resistivity to transport by wave action in several polychaete species on an intertidal sand flat. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 37, 181-189.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

White, N. 2007. Armandia cirrhosa Lagoon sandworm. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1160

Last Updated: 20/04/2007