Naval shipworms are marine and estuarine organisms inhabiting various submerged wooden substrates including floating wood, ships, or wharfs. Part of their larval stage is spent free-swimming in water. While they can tolerate low saline levels (up to 5 ppt), they flourish at levels greater than 9 ppt. Their optimal temperature range is 15 to 25 degrees Celsius and, as a result, (Didziulis, 2007; Tuente, et al., 2002)can be found in temperate and tropical zones.
- Other Habitat Features
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- Range length
- 1.5 to 58 cm
- 0.59 to 22.83 in
- Average length
- 20 cm
- 7.87 in
Sexes alternate in (Coe, 1943). Young are hermaphrodites while adults are either male or female. Usually, organisms are male first and then become female later. A second male to female phase may occur but shipworms normally do not live long enough for completion of the second phase.
- Development - Life Cycle
While no direct information was found on the mating system of (NIMPIS, 2011), it can be inferred to be polygynandrous. Males release sperm into the water, which females pick up via the incurrent siphon. This occurs on multiple occasions, as females spawn 3 to 4 times per season.
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Reproduction typically occurs in the summer months when temperatures reach 15 degrees Celsius. Females spawn 3 to 4 times per season, each time releasing 1 to 5 million larvae. ("Teredo navalis", 2009; Culliney, 1975; Grave, 1928; "Teredo navalis", 2009; Culliney, 1975; Grave, 1928; NIMPIS, 2011)embryos spend the first 2 to 3 weeks in the mother’s gill chamber. They are then released into the water as free-swimming veligers. Released larvae are 88 by 75 microns with a depth of 55 to 57 microns. They reach sexual maturity 6 to 8 weeks after inhabiting wood.
As mentioned previously, shipworms alternate between sexes during their life. When larvae mature, half of their gonads become spermatocytes, the other half ovocytes. Usually, spermatocytes multiply faster and are released earlier. (Coe, 1943)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- simultaneous hermaphrodite
- sequential hermaphrodite
- broadcast (group) spawning
- Breeding interval
- Shipworms spawn 3 to 4 times each season
- Breeding season
- Breeding season is usually in the summer
- Range number of offspring
- 1,000,000 to 5,000,000
- Range gestation period
- 2 to 3 weeks
- Range time to independence
- 2 to 3 weeks
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 6 to 8 weeks
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 6 to 8 weeks
Females carry offspring in gill chambers during early development. When larvae reach the advanced veliger stage, they are released into the water. There is no evidence that mothers assist veligers in finding wooden substrates to inhabit. (Grave, 1928)
- Parental Investment
- female parental care
The lifespan of shipworms is 1 to 3 years. (NIMPIS, 2011)
- Average lifespan
- 1-3 years
- Average lifespan
Released veligers are free-swimming. Upon attachment to a wooden substrate, veligers undergo metamorphosis to become adult shipworms. They burrow into the wood and stay there for the duration of their lives. Burrowing occurs either upward or downward; there does not seem to be a preference.
Neighboring burrows never come into contact with each other. Naval shipworms are able to somehow sense when they are close to another's burrow and respond by digging in a different direction or ceasing to grow. Similar behavior is seen when (Grave, 1928)reach the end of the wooden substrate and are able to turn around to delve in parallel to the original burrow.
Communication and Perception
There is limited information on howcommunicates.
- Plant Foods
- wood, bark, or stems
- Other Foods
- Foraging Behavior
The calcerous covering they secrete not only act as a lubricant but also deters predators or poisons in the water. In response to these conditions, thicker calcareous material is secreted at the anterior end in addition to the sides. Predators include bacteria and parasitic protozoa like Architophrya. Native Australians and snails also eat naval shipworms. (Grave, 1928)
- Known Predators
- Parasitic Protozoa
- Marine snails
- Humans, Homo sapiens
Naval shipworms break down submerged wooden substrates. The holes they create in the wood can be used by crustaceans such as Idotea. share a symbiotic relationship with the nitrogen-fixing bacteria within them that help the shipworms digest wood. Some protozoa are known to parasitize this species. (NIMPIS, 2011)
- Ecosystem Impact
- creates habitat
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
There are not any mentioned effects of (NIMPIS, 2011)that are positive to humans. They do serve as food for Australian natives.
- Positive Impacts
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Naval shipworms have many negative effects due to their wood boring activity. They have been noted to cause damage in ships and dikes. Weakening of dike gates, combined with a heavy storm, resulted in flooding of the Netherlands in 1731. (NIMPIS, 2011; USDA, 2006)also eat away at piers and wharfs. In San Francisco Bay, they can cause 200 million dollars worth of damage yearly.
The conservation status ofhas not been evaluated.
There are few ways to effectively prevent destruction of wood by (NIMPIS, 2011). Other non-wooden materials have been used to build objects like ships or wharfs. Biocides are only temporary answers and are hazardous to humans. Use of geotextiles to protect antique ships serves as a physical barrier to naval shipworms.
Maggie Ho (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Renee Mulcrone (editor), Special Projects.
- Atlantic Ocean
the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.
Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
- Pacific Ocean
body of water between the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), Australia, Asia, and the western hemisphere. This is the world's largest ocean, covering about 28% of the world's surface.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
Referring to an animal that lives on or near the bottom of a body of water. Also an aquatic biome consisting of the ocean bottom below the pelagic and coastal zones. Bottom habitats in the very deepest oceans (below 9000 m) are sometimes referred to as the abyssal zone. see also oceanic vent.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
helps break down and decompose dead plants and/or animals
- brackish water
areas with salty water, usually in coastal marshes and estuaries.
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
an area where a freshwater river meets the ocean and tidal influences result in fluctuations in salinity.
- female parental care
parental care is carried out by females
union of egg and spermatozoan
a method of feeding where small food particles are filtered from the surrounding water by various mechanisms. Used mainly by aquatic invertebrates, especially plankton, but also by baleen whales.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
An aquatic biome consisting of the open ocean, far from land, does not include sea bottom (benthic zone).
photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae. (Compare to zooplankton.)
an animal that mainly eats plankton
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
condition of hermaphroditic animals (and plants) in which the male organs and their products appear before the female organs and their products
- saltwater or marine
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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Culliney, J. 1975. Comparative larval development of the shipworms Bankia gouldi and Teredo navalis. Marine Biology, 29: 245-251.
Didziulis, V. 2007. "NOBANIS-invasive alien species fact sheet, Teredo navalis" (On-line pdf). NOBANIS-European network on invasive alien species. Accessed June 01, 2011 at http://www.nobanis.org/files/factsheets/Teredo_navalis.pdf.
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