Serpula vermicularis   Linnaeus,  1767 (Marine Worm)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Polychaeta

Image copyrights: Dave Cowles

Size: 50-70 mm. by 5-6 mm.

Color: Operculum with radiating red and white streaks.

Collar setae with two large, conical, lunt processes at the base. Uncini with 4-7 teeth, the lower one more stout and blunt. Collar trilobed. Operculum concave, with numerous radii, symmetrical. Tube variable, cylindrical, wrinkled, with 5-7 longitudinal ridges, smooth or serrated or echinulate, rather bell shaped at the mouth, more or less crooked and generally of a red or pink colour, more rarely white.

Synonym (s)
Serpula antarctica Quatrefages, 1866
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula crater Claparede, 1870
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula echinata Gmelin in Linnaeus, 1788
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula fascicularis Savigny in Lamarck, 1818
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula gervaisii Quatrefages, 1866
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula interrupta Quatrefages, 1866
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula octocostata Quatrefages, 1866
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula pallida Philippi, 1844
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula philippii Morch, 1863
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula splendens Bush, 1905
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula venusta Philippi, 1844
(Heterotypic synonym)
Serpula vermicularis Linnaeus, 1767
Vermilia vermicularis Fleming, 1825
(Objective synonym)
Serpula vermicularis vermicularis Linnaeus, 1767
(Objective synonym)
Serpula vermicularis echinata Gmelin, 1791
Serpula rugosa Turton, 1819
(Subjective synonym)
Serpula proboscidea (Bruguiere, 1789)
Serpula montagui Quatrefages, 1866
(Subjective synonym)
Serpula cristata Sowerby & Sowerby, 1820-25
(Subjective synonym)
Serpula aspera Philippi, 1844
(Subjective synonym)
Serpula (Serpula) pallida Philippi, 1844

Common Name (s)
• Tubeworm (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal


• Orissa INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Lat: 13.09) (Long: 80.29) INDIA
• Andhra Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam Harbour INDIA
• Kerala, Kochi Backwaters INDIA (Record: 1981)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar, Manauli Island INDIA
• Kerala, Kannur INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Kerala, Kochi INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Kerala, Vizhinjam INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Pondicherry, Karaikal INDIA (Depth: 5-15 mts)
• Maharashtra, Mumbai Port INDIA (Record: 11/1996-12/1996)
• Tamil Nadu, Porto Novo INDIA
• Orissa Coast INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Kalpakkam INDIA (Record: 1987-1988)

Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Sanctuary Asia natural history species: Species checklist: Reptiles Sanctuary Asia Sanctuary Magazine Available at -
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • Khan, AS and Murugesan, P (2005) Polychaete diversity in Indian estuaries Indian Journal of Marine Sciences National Institute of Science Communication And Information Resources, CSIR, New Delhi, India, in association with Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, INDIA 34(1) 114-119 Available at -
  • Srikrishnadhas, B; Murugesan, P and Khan, SA (1998) Polychaetes of Parangipettai coast Annamalai University, Parangipettai 110 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Cowles, D (2002) Key to invertebrates found at or near the Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory (a campus of Walla Walla University) Fidalgo Island, Anacortes, WA Available at -
  • Balaji, M; Rao, MV and Rao, KS (1999) Natural resistance of ten species of catamaran grade timber to marine wood borer attack at Visakhapatnam and Kochi harbours Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 41(1&2) 96-102 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Sarala Devi, K., Jayalakshmi, KV and Venugopal, P. (1991) Communities and coexistance of benthose in northern limb of Cochin backwaters Indian Journal of Marine Sciences 20 249-254 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • James, PSBR ; Thomas, PA ; Pillai, CSG and Achari Kumaraswamy, GP (1969) ´╗┐Catalogue of types and of sponges, corals, polychaetes, crabs and echinoderms in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 7 1-66 Available at -
  • Devi, KS; Sheba, P; Balasubramanian, T; Venugopal, P and Sankaranarayanan, VN (1996) Benthic fauna of southwest and southeast coasts of India The Fourth Indian Fisheries Forum Proceedings, Kochi, Kerala Asian Fisheries Society, Indian Branch, Mangalore 9-12 Available at -
  • Sukumaran, S and Devi, KS (2009) Polychaete diversity and its relevance in the rapid environmental assessment of Mumbai Port Current Science Current Science Association in collaboration with the Indian Academy of Sciences 97(10) 1439-1444 Available at -
  • Srikrishnadhas, B; Ramamoorthi, K and Balasubrahmanyan, K (1987) Polychaetes of Porto Novo waters Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The marine biological association of India 29(1&2) 134-139 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Fauvel, P (1953) The fauna of India including Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma and Malaya: Annelida, Polychaeta The Indian press ltd., Allahabad 507 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Sasikumar, N; Rajagopal, S and Nair, KVK (1989) Seasonal and vertical distribution of macrofoulants in Kalpakkam coastal waters Indian Journal of Marine Sciences Scientific Publishers 18(4) 270-275 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2011-06-30

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