General Description

Body concealed within a hard white tube. Feeding tentacles at the opening of the tube are green and white. The tube opening is covered by a flap (operculum) with movable spines. Worm body up to 2 cm long, colonies may be massive.

Biology

Galeolaria Tube Worms form colonies of many worms, providing shelter to smaller invertebrates between and around their tubes. Recent DNA studies have shown that the very common serpulid worm which used to be referred to as Galaeolaria caespitosa in fact comprises two distinct species: the "true" Galaeolaria caespitosa which occurs in south-western Australia to Port Phillip Bay and to Tasmania, while a second species, Galeolaria geminoea, occurs in New South Wales and southern Queensland. Although the two species are genetically very distinct, they cannot be separated morphologically (they look exactly the same). There is a third species in the same genus, Galeolaria hystrix, which is easily distinguished from Galaeolaria caespitosa andGaleolaria geminoea as it has a distinctive crown of red feeding tentacles. It occurs in New South Wales and in New Zealand. It is usually solitary and rarely forms aggregations.

Distribution

New Zealand. Southern and south-eastern Australia.

Habitat

Hard substrates such as intertidal rocky shores and pier piles.

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