BIOTIC Species Information for Pomatoceros triqueter
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
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpibenthic
Typical food typesPlankton and detritus HabitSee additional information
Bioturbator FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeSmall(1-2cm)
Height Growth Rate1.5 mm/month
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationGrowth
  • Once settled onto the substratum the worm forms a temporary delicate semi-transparent tube, which, when calcareous material is later added at the anterior end (Hayward & Ryland, 1995) dissolves over time (Dons, 1927). The tube is formed by a secretion of calcium carbonate (obtained from sea water) from the collar (Thomas, 1940).
  • Growth rate is usually measured by the increase in length of the tube over a period of time. Dons (1927) found that the youngest sessile stages of the animals in Trondheim occurred when the tubes were 800-1200µm long and the animal was approximately 500µ in length.
  • Hayward & Ryland (1995) and Dons (1927) stated that growth is rapid and sexual maturity is reached in approximately 4 months. Growth rate has been observed by Dons (1927) to be 1.5 mm per month, although this varied with external conditions. Males and females exhibit the same growth rate (Castric-Fey, 1983). Animals settling during spring show the best growth rate and the rate is greatest during the first year (Castric-Fey, 1983).
  • Castric-Fey (1983) reported that the number of segments of the worm increases with age, with a linear relationship being present within the first 6 months.
Feeding & Respiration
Thomas (1940) reviewed feeding and respiration in the polychaete. Pomatoceros triqueter never leaves its tube. Occasionally the posterior end of the tube becomes blocked by a calcareous plate with holes in. Respiration and excretion take place using cilia action to set up currents, bringing water in and down the length of the tube and flushing it back out the same way. Respiration occurs through the surface of the body and the branchial crown.

Feeding takes place by spreading apart its branchial filaments to expose a central groove. Using cilia action, it induces a current and transports food particles towards it mouth. If particles are too large or too numerous, the tip of a filament bends over and removes it. No sorting of food particles takes place.

Biology References Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Dons, 1927, Thomas, 1940, Castric-Fey, 1983,
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