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The Seashore


Spirobis tubeworms on Serrated Wrack

Tiny tubes of the worm Spirorbis

Hydroides produces a colony of worms on rocks with the tubes of calcium all inter-twined. They are round in section and 3 - 5 mm in diameter. By contrast the Spirorbis tubes are symmetrical, flat coils and attached to the large brown seaweeds, particularly Fucus. Coils are just a few millimetres across. Pomatoceros (the Keeled Tubeworm) is a common species found higher on the seashore on rocks. The single tube is triangular in section.

These sedentary worms are filter feeders. Using the tentacles which are extended out of the tube at low tide they collect material suspended in the water, mainly detritus and plankton

These many and varied tube worms are very abundant in the lower shore although Hydroides lives in deeper water and only found at extreme low tide. They are found throughout the European coastline, mainly on rocky seashores although anywhere where there is a suitable substrate to attach the tube. The tubes are porous and this will confine them to the lower shore to avoid desiccation.

Hydroides, a fan worm

Tentacles out feeding under water - Hydroides, a fan worm

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