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About Polychaetes
Worms that are not polychaetes

Mollusca: Bivalvia: Teredinidae  -  teredos or ship worms


Wood-boring bivalves with worm-like bodies. The shell is modified to form a pair (or numerous) "pallets" at the anterior end that can close the opening to the burrow, which has a calcareous lining.


Teredos are rare in benthic samples, but are common in pier piles and other wooden structures that have been submerged in the sea. However, they are not easy to extract from their burrows.

The Teredinidae comprises 15 genera world wide. At least 12 genera and 32 species are known to occur in Australia. Species are distinguished on the form of the pallets and on reproductive mode.


Turner (1971a, 1998) provides an overview of the biology of the group and its diversity in Australia. Turner (1971b) is an identification guide which covers study methods. Edgar (1997) contains a description of the most common species in southern Australia, Bankia australis, and illustrates the burrows in wood.

Edgar, GJ. 1997. Australian Marine Life. Reed, Kew, Victoria.

Turner, RD. 1998. Superfamily Pholadoidea. In Beesley, PL, Ross, GJB and Wells, A (eds). Mollusca: The Southern Synthesis. Fauna of Australia Volume 5. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 371-378.

Turner, RD. 1971a. Australian Shipworms. Australian Natural History, 139-145.

Turner, RD. 1971b. Identification of wood-boring mollusks. In Jones, EBG and Eltringham, SK (eds). Marine Fungi and Fouling Organisms Of Wood. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, pp. 17-64.