BIOTIC Species Information for Chaetopterus variopedatus
Researched byLizzie Tyler Data supplied byUniversity of Sheffield
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameChaetopterus variopedatus Common nameParchment worm
MCS CodeP814 Recent SynonymsNone

PhylumAnnelida Subphylum
Superclass ClassPolychaeta
Subclass OrderSpionida
Suborder FamilyChaetopteridae
GenusChaetopterus Speciesvariopedatus

Additional InformationNone entered
Taxonomy References Howson & Picton, 1997, Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward et al., 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b,
General Biology
Growth formVermiform segmented
Feeding methodPassive suspension feeder
Active suspension feeder
Environmental positionEpifaunal
Typical food typesSuspended organic particulates HabitTubiculous
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeMedium-large(21-50cm)
Height Growth RateInsufficient information
Adult dispersal potentialVery limited (<1m) DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationThe adult worm is up to 25 cm in length and lives in tough, permanent, U-shaped tubes up to 30 cm in length.
Biology References Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Julie Bremner, unpub data,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandWidely distributed around British coasts, but not recorded on the east coast of England south of the Tees estuary.
Global distributionCosmopolitan.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationNon entered

Substratum preferencesCrevices / fissures
Muddy gravel
Under boulders
Gravel / shingle
Muddy sand
Coarse clean sand
Fine clean sand
Physiographic preferencesEnclosed coast / Embayment
Open coast
Strait / sound
Biological zoneLower Infralittoral
Lower Circalittoral
Upper Circalittoral
Wave exposureExposed
Moderately Exposed
Very Exposed
Very Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowVery Weak (negligible)
Weak (<1 kn)
Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
Strong (3-6 kn)
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional InformationNone entered
Distribution References Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward et al., 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Bruce et al., 1963, Foster-Smith, 2000, JNCC, 1999, Picton & Costello, 1998, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Julie Bremner, unpub data,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismPlanktotrophic
Reproductive SeasonInsufficient information Reproductive LocationInsufficient information
Reproductive frequencyAnnual episodic Regeneration potential No
Life spanInsufficient information Age at reproductive maturity
Generation timeInsufficient information Fecundity
Egg/propagule size Fertilization typeExternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potentialInsufficient information Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage11-30 days   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationThorson (1946) reported that three weeks after metamorphosis the larvae had secreted a tube within which the animal resided. It is expected that the pelagic stage is rather short.
Reproduction References Thorson, 1946, Julie Bremner, unpub data,
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