Lagoon sandworm (Armandia cirrhosa)

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

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.

Biology review

Taxonomy

LevelScientific nameCommon name
PhylumAnnelida
ClassPolychaeta
FamilyOpheliidae
GenusArmandia
AuthorityFilippi, 1861
Recent Synonyms

Biology

ParameterData
Typical abundanceModerate density
Male size range3-7mm
Male size at maturity
Female size rangeVery small(<1cm)
Female size at maturity
Growth formVermiform segmented
Growth rateData deficient
Body flexibility
Mobility
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

ParameterData
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 or 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

ParameterData
Reproductive typeNo information
Reproductive frequency No information
Fecundity (number of eggs)No information
Generation timeInsufficient information
Age at maturityInsufficient information
SeasonInsufficient information
Life spanInsufficient information

Larval characteristics

ParameterData
Larval/propagule type-
Larval/juvenile development Planktotrophic
Duration of larval stageNo information
Larval dispersal potential No information
Larval settlement periodInsufficient 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

Use / to open/close text displayed

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence / Confidence
Substratum loss [Show more]

Substratum loss

Benchmark. All of the substratum occupied by the species or biotope under consideration is removed. A single event is assumed for sensitivity assessment. Once the activity or event has stopped (or between regular events) suitable substratum remains or is deposited. Species or community recovery assumes that the substratum within the habitat preferences of the original species or community is present. Further details

Evidence

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.
High Very low / none Very High Very low
Smothering [Show more]

Smothering

Benchmark. All of the population of a species or an area of a biotope is smothered by sediment to a depth of 5 cm above the substratum for one month. Impermeable materials, such as concrete, oil, or tar, are likely to have a greater effect. Further details.

Evidence

The species would be able to move through new sediment and re-establish itself upon smothering.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Very low
Increase in suspended sediment [Show more]

Increase in suspended sediment

Benchmark. An arbitrary short-term, acute change in background suspended sediment concentration e.g., a change of 100 mg/l for one month. The resultant light attenuation effects are addressed under turbidity, and the effects of rapid settling out of suspended sediment are addressed under smothering. Further details

Evidence

The species is probably tolerate to siltation as it occurs in lagoons where siltation naturally occurs.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Very low
Decrease in suspended sediment [Show more]

Decrease in suspended sediment

Benchmark. An arbitrary short-term, acute change in background suspended sediment concentration e.g., a change of 100 mg/l for one month. The resultant light attenuation effects are addressed under turbidity, and the effects of rapid settling out of suspended sediment are addressed under smothering. Further details

Evidence

No information
Desiccation [Show more]

Desiccation

  1. A normally subtidal, demersal or pelagic species including intertidal migratory or under-boulder species is continuously exposed to air and sunshine for one hour.
  2. A normally intertidal species or community is exposed to a change in desiccation equivalent to a change in position of one vertical biological zone on the shore, e.g., from upper eulittoral to the mid eulittoral or from sublittoral fringe to lower eulittoral for a period of one year. Further details.

Evidence

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
Increase in emergence regime [Show more]

Increase in emergence regime

Benchmark. A one hour change in the time covered or not covered by the sea for a period of one year. Further details

Evidence

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 Not relevant No information Very low
Decrease in emergence regime [Show more]

Decrease in emergence regime

Benchmark. A one hour change in the time covered or not covered by the sea for a period of one year. Further details

Evidence

No information
Increase in water flow rate [Show more]

Increase in water flow rate

A change of two categories in water flow rate (view glossary) for 1 year, for example, from moderately strong (1-3 knots) to very weak (negligible). Further details

Evidence

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
Intermediate High Very low
Decrease in water flow rate [Show more]

Decrease in water flow rate

A change of two categories in water flow rate (view glossary) for 1 year, for example, from moderately strong (1-3 knots) to very weak (negligible). Further details

Evidence

No information
Increase in temperature [Show more]

Increase in temperature

  1. A short-term, acute change in temperature; e.g., a 5°C change in the temperature range for three consecutive days. This definition includes ‘short-term’ thermal discharges.
  2. A long-term, chronic change in temperature; e.g. a 2°C change in the temperature range for a year. This definition includes ‘long term’ thermal discharges.

For intertidal species or communities, the range of temperatures includes the air temperature regime for that species or community. Further details

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Decrease in temperature [Show more]

Decrease in temperature

  1. A short-term, acute change in temperature; e.g., a 5°C change in the temperature range for three consecutive days. This definition includes ‘short-term’ thermal discharges.
  2. A long-term, chronic change in temperature; e.g. a 2°C change in the temperature range for a year. This definition includes ‘long term’ thermal discharges.

For intertidal species or communities, the range of temperatures includes the air temperature regime for that species or community. Further details

Evidence

No information
Increase in turbidity [Show more]

Increase in turbidity

  1. A short-term, acute change; e.g., two categories of the water clarity scale (see glossary) for one month, such as from medium to extreme turbidity.
  2. A long-term, chronic change; e.g., one category of the water clarity scale (see glossary) for one year, such as from low to medium turbidity. Further details

Evidence

The species is probably tolerant of a change in turbidity as it is not affected by light availability.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Very low
Decrease in turbidity [Show more]

Decrease in turbidity

  1. A short-term, acute change; e.g., two categories of the water clarity scale (see glossary) for one month, such as from medium to extreme turbidity.
  2. A long-term, chronic change; e.g., one category of the water clarity scale (see glossary) for one year, such as from low to medium turbidity. Further details

Evidence

No information
Increase in wave exposure [Show more]

Increase in wave exposure

A change of two ranks on the wave exposure scale (view glossary) e.g., from Exposed to Extremely exposed for a period of one year. Further details

Evidence

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.
High Very High Very low
Decrease in wave exposure [Show more]

Decrease in wave exposure

A change of two ranks on the wave exposure scale (view glossary) e.g., from Exposed to Extremely exposed for a period of one year. Further details

Evidence

No information
Noise [Show more]

Noise

  1. Underwater noise levels e.g., the regular passing of a 30-metre trawler at 100 metres or a working cutter-suction transfer dredge at 100 metres for one month during important feeding or breeding periods.
  2. Atmospheric noise levels e.g., the regular passing of a Boeing 737 passenger jet 300 metres overhead for one month during important feeding or breeding periods. Further details

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Visual presence [Show more]

Visual presence

Benchmark. The continuous presence for one month of moving objects not naturally found in the marine environment (e.g., boats, machinery, and humans) within the visual envelope of the species or community under consideration. Further details

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Abrasion & physical disturbance [Show more]

Abrasion & physical disturbance

Benchmark. Force equivalent to a standard scallop dredge landing on or being dragged across the organism. A single event is assumed for assessment. This factor includes mechanical interference, crushing, physical blows against, or rubbing and erosion of the organism or habitat of interest. Where trampling is relevant, the evidence and trampling intensity will be reported in the rationale. Further details.

Evidence

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.
Intermediate Moderate Moderate Very low
Displacement [Show more]

Displacement

Benchmark. Removal of the organism from the substratum and displacement from its original position onto a suitable substratum. A single event is assumed for assessment. Further details

Evidence

The species would probably be able to re-establish itself upon displacement.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Very low

Chemical pressures

Use [show more] / [show less] to open/close text displayed

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence / Confidence
Synthetic compound contamination [Show more]

Synthetic compound contamination

Sensitivity is assessed against the available evidence for the effects of contaminants on the species (or closely related species at low confidence) or community of interest. For example:

  • evidence of mass mortality of a population of the species or community of interest (either short or long term) in response to a contaminant will be ranked as high sensitivity;
  • evidence of reduced abundance, or extent of a population of the species or community of interest (either short or long term) in response to a contaminant will be ranked as intermediate sensitivity;
  • evidence of sub-lethal effects or reduced reproductive potential of a population of the species or community of interest will be assessed as low sensitivity.

The evidence used is stated in the rationale. Where the assessment can be based on a known activity then this is stated. The tolerance to contaminants of species of interest will be included in the rationale when available; together with relevant supporting material. Further details.

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Heavy metal contamination [Show more]

Heavy metal contamination

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Hydrocarbon contamination [Show more]

Hydrocarbon contamination

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Radionuclide contamination [Show more]

Radionuclide contamination

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Changes in nutrient levels [Show more]

Changes in nutrient levels

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Increase in salinity [Show more]

Increase in salinity

  1. A short-term, acute change; e.g., a change of two categories from the MNCR salinity scale for one week (view glossary) such as from full to reduced.
  2. A long-term, chronic change; e.g., a change of one category from the MNCR salinity scale for one year (view glossary) such as from reduced to low. Further details.

Evidence

The species has only been recorded at sites with reduced salinity so can therefore probably not tolerate fully marine conditions.
High None Very High Very low
Decrease in salinity [Show more]

Decrease in salinity

  1. A short-term, acute change; e.g., a change of two categories from the MNCR salinity scale for one week (view glossary) such as from full to reduced.
  2. A long-term, chronic change; e.g., a change of one category from the MNCR salinity scale for one year (view glossary) such as from reduced to low. Further details.

Evidence

No information
Changes in oxygenation [Show more]

Changes in oxygenation

Benchmark.  Exposure to a dissolved oxygen concentration of 2 mg/l for one week. Further details.

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant

Biological pressures

Use [show more] / [show less] to open/close text displayed

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence / Confidence
Introduction of microbial pathogens/parasites [Show more]

Introduction of microbial pathogens/parasites

Benchmark. Sensitivity can only be assessed relative to a known, named disease, likely to cause partial loss of a species population or community. Further details.

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Introduction of non-native species [Show more]

Introduction of non-native species

Sensitivity assessed against the likely effect of the introduction of alien or non-native species in Britain or Ireland. Further details.

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Extraction of this species [Show more]

Extraction of this species

Benchmark. Extraction removes 50% of the species or community from the area under consideration. Sensitivity will be assessed as 'intermediate'. The habitat remains intact or recovers rapidly. Any effects of the extraction process on the habitat itself are addressed under other factors, e.g. displacement, abrasion and physical disturbance, and substratum loss. Further details.

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant
Extraction of other species [Show more]

Extraction of other species

Benchmark. A species that is a required host or prey for the species under consideration (and assuming that no alternative host exists) or a keystone species in a biotope is removed. Any effects of the extraction process on the habitat itself are addressed under other factors, e.g. displacement, abrasion and physical disturbance, and substratum loss. Further details.

Evidence

Insufficient
information
No information Not relevant No information Not relevant

Additional information

Importance review

Policy/legislation

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

Status

Non-native

ParameterData
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.

Datasets

  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-06-12

Citation

This review can be cited as:

White, N. 2007. Armandia cirrhosa Lagoon sandworm. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 12-06-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1160

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Last Updated: 20/04/2007