BIOTIC Species Information for Polydora ciliata
Researched byLizzie Tyler Data supplied byUniversity of Sheffield
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
General Biology
Growth formVermiform segmented
Feeding methodPassive suspension feeder
Active suspension feeder
Surface deposit feeder
Sub-surface deposit feeder
Environmental positionEpibenthic
Typical food typesDetritus, suspended particles and occasionally dead barnacles and other dead invertebrates. HabitTubiculous
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeSmall(1-2cm)
HeightA few milimeters Growth RateInsufficient information
Adult dispersal potential100-1000m DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional Information
  • Mode of life: Polydora ciliata burrows into the shells of oysters, mussels and periwinkles as well as into limestone rock and stones and lithothamnia or other encrusting coralline algae.
  • The species makes a U-shaped tube from small particles (usually of mud, but may be whitish and calcareous if excavating in lithothamnia or other encrusting coralline algae (Hayward & Ryland, 1995). Much of this tube may be embedded in a burrow excavated in limestone rock, shells and calcareous algae, and the two ends extend a few millimetres above the surface of the substratum. It has been suggested that burrowing is achieved by mechanical action of the chaetae, especially those of the 5th segment, but this is open to some doubt as chemical action may also be involved (Fish & Fish, 1996).
  • Feeding method: The species generally feeds on detritus that is removed from the sediment by the two long palps. It also feeds on suspended particles in the water, and on occasions has been observed to eat dead barnacles and other dead invertebrates.
Biology References Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward & Ryland, 1990,
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