Owenia fusiformis   Delle Chiaje,  1844 (Marine Worm)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Polychaeta

Image copyrights: Crown copyright

Size: Length 50-100 mm. by 2-3 mm.

Color: Greenish or yellowish with paler transverse glandular belts.

Body cylindrical 28 setigerous segments. First three setigers long and without ventral uncini. Prostomium fused with buccal segment, carrying a branchial laciniate membrane with eight or nine lobes. A deep ventral groove from the fourth setiger onwards till the hind end. Dorsal setae slender, spinous. Uncinigerous tori long, in the form of narrow rectangular strips, touching each other on the mid-ventral line. Uncini arranged in regular manner and contain two curved, parallel teeth on the crest
Tube membranous, strengthened by imbricating sand grains. Prostomium with frilly feeding membrane. Thoracic region with three short setigers bearing capillary setae. First five abdominal setigers longer, abdomen with notopodial capillaries and neuropodial rows of minute long-shafted hooks. The head features a crown of six short, branched and membraneous gills. The segments number 30 and differ in length. Anal segments telescoped and short. Inhabits membranaceous tube, open and tapering at both ends. Tube covered with overlapping sand grains and thin flat bits of shells which are imbricated. The worm is able to withdraw from the end protruding from the sediment surface, which subsequently bends down.

Main spawning period is short. The larvae remain in the plankton for at least four weeks. This species seems able to adapt its reproductive strategy to different environmental conditions. In more temperate waters Owenia fusiformis produces a distinctive type of planktotrophic larva and breeding occurs in autumn.

Synonym (s)
Owenia fusiformis Hartman, 1959
Owenia fusiformis Hartman, 1974
Owenia fusiformis Kiseleva, 1971
Owenia fusiformis Mohammad, 1971
Owenia fusiformis Monro, 1937
Owenia fusiformis Wesenberg-Lund, 1949
Ammochares aedificator Andrews, 1891
(Subjective synonym)
Ammochares assimilis Sars, 1851
(Subjective synonym)
Ammochares brasiliensis Hansen, 1882
(Subjective synonym)
Ammochares occidentale Johnson, 1901
(Subjective synonym)
Ammochares orientalis Grube, 1878
(Subjective synonym)
Ammochares ottonis Grube, 1846
(Subjective synonym)
Ammochares sundevalli Kinberg, 1867
(Subjective synonym)
Ammochares tegula Kinberg, 1866
(Subjective synonym)
Ammochares tenuis Haswell, 1883
(Subjective synonym)
Ops digitata Carrington, 1865
(Subjective synonym)
Owenia brachycera Marion, 1876
(Subjective synonym)
Owenia filiformis Claparede, 1870
(Subjective synonym)
Owenia fusiformis Delle Chiaje, 1844

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

Habitat:  Estuarine, Sandy, Coastal


• Orissa, Mahanadi Estuary (Lat: 20.32) (Long: 86.75) INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin Pearl Bank (Lat: 8.78) (Long: 78.13) INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA (Record: 19/03/1983)
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin INDIA
• Orissa INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Parangipettai (Lat: 11.48) (Long: 79.76) INDIA
• West Bengal, Naraharipur INDIA (Record: 23/07/1982)
• West Bengal, Namkhana Creek INDIA (Record: 07/10/1982)
• West Bengal, Bakkhali INDIA (Record: 06/03/1985)
• Tamil Nadu, Thondi INDIA (Record: 06/2005-05/2006)
• West Bengal, Medinipur, Talsari INDIA (Record: 07/2000-06/2002)
• West Bengal, Sibganj INDIA (Record: 11/08/1989)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Phoenix Bay INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Port Blair INDIA
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Kerala, Kovalam INDIA
• Maharashtra, Mumbai Port INDIA (Record: 11/1996-12/1996)
• Tamil Nadu, Porto Novo INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin Pearl Bank INDIA
• West Bengal, South 24 Parganas INDIA
• West Bengal, East Medinipur INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Tikadar, BK; Daniel, A and Subbarao, NV (1986) Sea shore animals of Andaman and Nicobar Islands The Director, ZSI, Kolkatta 188 Available at - ZSI, Pune
  • Zoological Survey of India (Eds.) (1998) Fauna Of Mahanadi estuary, Orissa Estuarine ecosystem series no 3 ZSI, Kolkata 1-218 Available at - ZSI, Pune
  • Eibye-Jacobson, D (Ed) (2002) Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Polychaetes of the Andaman Sea, Phuket Marine Biological Center, Department of Fisheries, Thailand, 3 June-27 August 1997 Phuket Marine Biological Center Special Publication no. 24 Phuket Marine Biological Center, Phuket, Thailand 424 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Ramakrishna; Sarkar, J and Talukdar, S (2003) Marine invertebrates of Digha coast and some recomendations on their conservation Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI, Kolkata 101(3-4) 1 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Wehe, T and Fiege, D (2002) Annotated checklist of the polychaete species of the seas surrounding the Arabian Peninsula: Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Gulf Fauna of Arabia 19 7-238 Available at - http://www.senckenberg.de/files/content/forschung/abteilung/aquazool/mev2/wehe_&_fiege.pdf
  • A guide to Singapore Polychaetes Available at - http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/polychaete/
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • Misra, A and Chakraborty, RK (1991) Annelida: Polychaeta State fauna series 2: Fauna of Lakshadweep ZSI, Calcutta 137-165 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Srikrishnadhas, B; Murugesan, P and Khan, SA (1998) Polychaetes of Parangipettai coast Annamalai University, Parangipettai 110 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • MarLIN: Marine life information network Biology and sensitivity key information sub-programme [on-line] Available at - http://www.marlin.ac.uk/
  • Misra, A (1995) Polychaetes Estuarine ecosystem series, Part 2: Hugli Matla Estuary ZSI, Calcutta 93-155 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Serebiah, JS; Stella, C and Kadhar, AA (2008) Assessment of benthos in the subtidal area of Thondi (Palk Bay), southeast Tamilnadu- GIS based explication Proceedings of the national symposium on marine and coastal ecosystems 27-29, August 2007 Seaweed Research and Utilisation Seaweed Research and Utilisation Association, Marine Fisheries- 623 520, Tamilnadu, India 30 279-296 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Chandra, A and Chakraborty, SK (2008) Distribution, density and community ecology of macrobenthic intertidal polychaetes in the coastal tract of Midnapore, West Bengal, India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 50(1) 7-16 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Tampi, PRS and Rangarajan, K (1964) Some polychaetous Annelids from the Andaman waters Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 6(1) 98-123 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/1007/1/Article_10.pdf
  • 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 - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/567/1/Bulletin_7.pdf
  • 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 - http://drs.nio.org/drs/bitstream/2264/3456/1/Curr_Sci_97_1439.pdf
  • 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
  • Mitra, S; Misra, A (2010) Polychaetes of the Wetlands of West Bengal Journal of Environment and Sociobiology Social Environmental and Biological Association, Kolkata, India 7(2) 141-146 Available at - NIO,Goa

Page last updated on:2011-10-25

Back to Search