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Ficopomatus enigmaticus Serpulidae (serpulid/fan-worm)
Sabellida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
Ficopomatus  enigmaticus  (Fauvel, 1923).   Family Serpulidae  
     Ficopomatus enigmaticus tubes.
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 Habitat: Intertidal. Soft shore. Enclosed harbours only. Sand Depth range: 0-3 (m). Salinity regime: Upper estuarine reaches tolerant. Microhabitat:  Settles (fouls) any hard surfaces near low tide, then tube aggregations grow, forming colony hummocks. Tube: Circular tube with flares.
Occurrence:  Uncommon but may have localised colonies. Density: 20,000 (m2).
Distribution in NZ: Has only been reported from Whangarei, Auckland, Whitianga, and Napier.
 Feeding guild: Surface filter-feeding.
 Diagnosis:  Genus Ficopomatus in Family Serpulidae.
White circular tube, ornamented at irregular intervals with flared rings. Operculum fig-shaped with crown of incurved horny spines in single or several concentric rings. Opercular stalk sub-triangular in section, without wings. Chaetiger one with capillaries and toothed collar chaetae. Always in aggregated colonies. Colour: Tube white. Branchial filaments with dark pigment bands dorsally, and a pair of ventral white pigment blotches. Maximum size: 22 mm total length, 1.2 mm body width, for 60 chaetigers.
 Notable aspect: Tube usually with flared collars. Operculum with crown of dark spines (horny, not calcareous).
 Comparisons:  Unique. No similar serpulids (in New Zealand).
 Taxonomy:  There are related species, in particular the more tropical F. uschakovi (Philippines, Indonesia, also recently reported from Brazil), which apparently replaces F. enigmaticus north of Sydney in Australia. F. miamiensis has reportedly recently invaded Mexican Gulf of Mexico coasts.
 Distribution: Europe, especially the Mediterranean, South Australia, also reported from Hawaii, Argentina, Uruguay, California, Virginia, also sporadic individuals or clusters reported from Gulf of Mexico and Florida.
 Biology: An alien invasive worldwide of unknown origin, although increasingly it seems likely to be a native of Australia. Typically forms small colonial hummocks of tube aggregations in estuarine waters, and is able to do so on otherwise soft shores.
 Best References:   Biology: Read and Gordon (1991) Adventive occurrence of the fouling serpulid Ficopomatus enigmaticus, Polychaeta, in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 25:269-274 Taxonomy: ten Hove and Weerdenburg (1978) A generic revision of the brackish-water serpulid Ficopomatus Southern 1921 (Polychaeta: Serpulinae), including Mercierella Fauvel 1923, Sphaeropomatus Treadwell 1934, Mercierellopsis Rioja 1945 and Neopomatus Pillai 1960. Biological Bulletin 154:96-120.

 Synonyms,  NZ records Original figures Original description details
 Genus diagnosis More pictures Further references (biology, etc) Family Serpulidae

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Data last edited 06/08/2009, and page last generated by G. Read, 06/08/2009    (dd/mm/yy)