Galeolaria caespitosa

Intertidal Tubeworm

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  • Galeolaria caespitosa Intertidal Tubeworm

    22 Mar 2018-37.8,148.7Leuba Ridgway

    This mass resembling worn coral was about 10 cms across. On the surface were crescent shaped structures which were the open ends of calcareous tubes constructed by tubeworms. They have clustered together and probably grown on a snail, completely enveloping it and forming a hard mass, as suggested by Audrey Falconer(Marine Research). The mass was partially covered with sand but red algae could be seen growing on the mass. The tubes are built by annelid fanworms from the family Serpulidae. The worms have branchial crowns in two lobes, one of them has a stalked operculum (lid). The branchial croown form the gills and also helps to capture food. The worm lives within the tube and retracts into the tube when in danger or when the tide is out, pulling the operculum down tight to shut the opening of the tube. A dense mass of tubes can form a microhabitat for other marine creatures. My thanks to Audrey Falconer ( Marine Research) for identifying this mass. Spotted in a rock pool in an intertidal zone of a rocky shoreline ( Cape Conran, Victoria). These tubeworms are seen from Southern Queensland all along the southern coast to Western Australia.


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    1. David Francis  Galeolaria caespitosa added to db. Location doesn't completely rule out the morphologically identical Galeolaria gemineoa, separated by DNA studies. See

      Reply • 30 Mar 2018

      • Leuba Ridgway  Thank you for adding the ID to the database David and your message. Prior to posting here I sought help from the Marine Research Group of The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. Audrey Falconer (an expert on Marine Invertebrates) provided me the ID. Also given the location where it was found, I believe the species to be correct. I also checked the Port Phillip marine life web site as it's very useful.

        Reply • 30 Mar 2018