MarLIN

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

A sludge-worm (Tubificoides benedii)

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

Summary

Description

Tubificoides benedii is a slender worm that may grow up to 5.5 cm in length, with between 75-100 body segments. In Tubificoides benedii the body wall is thinly covered with cuticular folds (papillate) which give the worm a rough feel. The body segments have on each side an upper and lower bundle of chitinous bristles (setae), that are able to move and are used for burrowing. The worm may appear red in colour, owing to the possession of the respiratory pigment haemoglobin. Oligochaetes are hermaphrodites, with paired male and female sex organs opening separately on the underside.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

On all coasts of Britain, probably under recorded in Ireland.

Global distribution

-

Habitat

Found in marine and brackish water cohesive muds.

Depth range

-

Identifying features


Reference to Brinkhurst (1982) and Brinkhurst & Jamieson (1971) is recommended.
  • Thin, segmented worm, up to 5.5 cm in length, that is red in colour.
  • Eyespots absent.
  • Body wall thinly but evenly covered with papillae.
  • Testes in body segment X and male pore in segment XI.
  • Ovaries in body segment XI and spermatheca (sac-shaped invagination of body wall for receiving sperm during copulation) in segment X.
  • All setae indistinctly bifid (double-pointed) with reduced upper points, or simple-pointed.
  • Penis sheaths cylindrical with recurved distal end.

Additional information

Oligochaetes are segmented, bilaterally symmetrical, cylindrical worms, with tapering ends. Typically each body segment possesses four bundles of setae (chitinous bristles projecting from the body). The setae vary considerably in size and shape, and between families, so are consequently used extensively in identification. Examination under a microscope and of internal anatomy is likely to be required for accurate identification (see Brinkhurst, 1982), and attention paid to the rather complex reproductive system. The number of gonads, the position of one gonad relative to the other, and the body segments in which they occur are used to define families. In the Tubificidae the form of the male duct is used to define genera.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:

Bibliography

  1. Brinkhurst, R.O. & Jamieson, B.G.M., 1971. Aquatic Oligochaeta of the world. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd.

  2. Brinkhurst, R.O., 1982. British and other marine and estuarine oligochaetes. Cambridge University Press, [Synopses of the British Fauna, No. 21].

  3. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  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. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Budd, G.C. 2005. Tubificoides benedii A sludge-worm. 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/1862

Last Updated: 27/10/2005