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Spirobranchus cariniferus Serpulidae (serpulid/fan-worm)
Sabellida (Annelida: Polychaeta)
Spirobranchus  cariniferus  (Gray, 1843).   Family Serpulidae  
     Spirobranchus cariniferus
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 Habitat: Intertidal. Rocky shore. Soft shore. Bays and sheltered beaches. Depth range: 0-1 (m). Salinity regime: Estuary-like variation. Microhabitat:  Mid-tide zone on any hard surface. Tube: White calcareous tube
Occurrence:  Common to abundant. Density: 1000 (m2).
Distribution in NZ: North and South Islands. Believed to be absent from Chatham Islands. Stewart Island?
 Feeding guild: Surface filter-feeding.
 Diagnosis:  Genus Spirobranchus in Family Serpulidae.
Spirobranchus with triangular tube, with medial keel prolonged as a sharp protective spine-like rostrum over the tube opening. Tube white or blue-streaked. Seven thoracic chaetigers. Opercular stalk flattened, with prolonged wings; operculum a flat calcareous plate, more or less unornamented. Body bright blue anteriorly, pale yellow-orange posteriorly. Radioles bright blue with some white banding. Colour:  Maximum size: 40 mm total length, 3 mm body width.
 Notable aspect: Bright blue anterior body colour. Colonial. Tube opening spine.
 Comparisons:  A medium-sized serpulid unlikely to be confused with any other serpulid species.
 Taxonomy:  Better known as Pomatoceros caeruleus this conspicuous serpulid was the first New Zealand polychaete to be given a name, and was described as a new species (with different names) at least 6 times! Currently in genus Spirobranchus but further study may place it back in Pomatoceros.
 Distribution: Endemic. No records from outside New Zealand waters
 Biology: Spirobranchus cariniferus is the common colonial serpulid of New Zealand shores. It is found mostly on the lower shore on shaded rock faces, becoming more prominent in the cooler south, where tube layers up to 30 cm thick may occur. On soft shores small groups occur on top of any suitable hard object such as small stones and dead shell.
 Best References:   Biology: Morton and Miller (1968) The New Zealand sea shore.. Collins, Lond. Auckland (2nd ed. 1973 pagination unchanged) :653 Taxonomy: No recommendation.

 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 4/07/2004, and page last generated by G. Read, 27/07/2004    (dd/mm/yy)