Rare tubeworm structures discovered in sea off Scotland


Serpula vermicularis

From Wildlife Extra:

Very rare and unusual sea species discovered off Scotland’s west coast

April 2007. One of the world’s rarest coral-like structures, which in Scotland was previously thought to exist in only one sea loch, has been discovered in Loch Teacuis in Morvern.

Beyond Scotland it is only recorded growing sparsely in three other places in the world – in coastal lagoons near Taranto in Italy and in Ardbear Lough and Killary Harbour in Ireland.

The structures, which house colonies of vibrantly coloured red, orange and pink worms, were found on the seabed during a recent marine survey for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Further investigations indicated their presence in a narrow band most of the way around the upper basin of the loch, where the water is shallow. They also extend deeper in places where there is a suitable hard substrate on which to grow.

The structures are built by the tubeworm Serpula vermicularis, which is widespread around Britain in its solitary form, depositing the white tubes often seen on rocks and shells on the beach.

Each tube houses a single worm that emerges to feed on passing plankton.

In certain conditions, which are not yet understood, the worm tubes can grow up off the seabed, twisting around each other and branching to form coral-like structures.

Common origins of brains of worms and vertebrates: here.

Roundworms: here.

5 thoughts on “Rare tubeworm structures discovered in sea off Scotland

  1. Pingback: New tubeworm species discovery in the Netherlands | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: New tubeworm species discovery in the Netherlands | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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