Skip to main content

Polydorid species (Polychaeta: Spionidae) in south-western Australian waters with special reference to Polydora uncinata and Boccardia knoxi

  • Waka Sato-Okoshi (a1), Kenji Okoshi (a2) and Jeremy Shaw (a3)

Eight species of polydorid polychaetes were found to inhabit mollusc shells from south-western Australian waters. Numerous individuals of Polydora uncinata were extracted for the first time from the shells of both land-based cultured abalone Haliotis laevigata and H. roei, as well as from natural subtidal H. roei and Chlamys australis. Shells of the oyster Saccostrea commercialis cultured in sea-based systems were infested by Boccardia knoxi which was first recorded in these waters. Polydora aura, Dipolydora giardi, D. armata, D. aciculata and Boccardia proboscidea were common among shells of various natural intertidal and subtidal molluscs. A small number of P. haswelli were extracted from their self-excavated burrows in shells of cultured oysters. Boccardia knoxi and D. aciculata were redescribed based on the newly collected materials. Polydora uncinata and B. knoxi exhibited similar larval development patterns (exolecithotrophy and adelphophagy), iteroparity and longer life span, suggesting a high reproductive potential. This study suggests that further monitoring of polydorid species is needed not only from the viewpoint of marine biology but also to survey the risk invasive species pose to commercially important molluscs in this region and worldwide.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Waka Sato-Okoshi Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology Graduate School of Agricultural ScienceTohoku UniversitySendai 981–8555Japan email:
Hide All
Ambariyanto and Seed R. (1991) The infestation of Mytilus edulis Linnaeus by Polydora ciliata (Johnston) in the Conwy Estuary, North Wales. Journal of Molluscan Studies 57, 413424.
Bailey-Brock J.H. (2000) A new record of the polychaete Boccardia proboscidea (family Spionidae), imported to Hawaii with oysters. Pacific Science 54, 2730.
Blake J.A. (1983) Polychaetes of the family Spionidae from South America, Antarctica, and adjacent seas and islands. Biology of the Antarctic Seas 14. Antarctic Research Series 39, 205288.
Blake J.A. (1996) Family Spionidae Grube, 1850. In Blake J.A. et al. (eds) Taxonomic atlas of the benthic fauna of the Santa Maria Basin and Western Santa Barbara Channel. Vol. 6. The Annelida. Part 3California: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, pp. 81224.
Blake J.A. and Evans J.D. (1973) Polydora and related genera (Polychaeta: Spionidae) as borers in mollusk shells and other calcareous substrates. Veliger 15, 235249.
Blake J.A. and Kudenov J.D. (1978) The Spionidae (Polychaeta) from southeastern Australia and adjacent areas with a revision of the genera. Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria 39, 171280.
Caceres-Martinez J., Tinoco G.D., Bustamante M.L.U. and Gomez-Humaran I.M. (1999) Relationship between the burrowing worm Polydora sp. and the black clam Chione fluctifraga Showerby. Journal of Shellfish Research 18, 8589.
Cohen A.N. and Carlton J.T. (1998) Accelerating invasion rate in a highly invaded estuary. Science 279, 555558.
Evans J.W. (1969) Borers in the shell of the sea scallop, Placopecten magellanicus. American Zoologist 9, 775782.
Handley S.J. (1995) Spionid polychaetes in Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg) from Admiralty Bay, Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 29, 305309.
Handley S.J. (2000) Larval development of Boccardia knoxi, a shell-infesting spionid polychaete. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 34, 681687.
Handley S.J. and Bergquist P.R. (1997) Spionid polychaete infestations of intertidal pacific oysters Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg), Mahurangi Harbour, northern New Zealand. Aquaculture 153, 191205.
Haswell W.A. (1885) On a destructive parasite of the rock oyster. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 10, 273275.
Hutchings P.A. and Turvey S.P. (1984) The Spionidae of South Australia (Annelida: Polychaeta). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 108, 120.
Kent R.M.L. (1979) The influence of heavy infestations of Polydora ciliata on the flesh content of Mytilus edulis. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK 59, 289297.
Kojima H. and Imajima M. (1982) Burrowing polychaetes in the shells of abalone Haliotis diversicolor aquatilis chiefly on the species of Polydora. Bulletin of the Japanese Society of Scientific Fisheries 48, 3135. [In Japanese with English abstract].
Lleonart M., Handlinger J. and Powell M. (2003) Spionid mudworm infestation of farmed abalone (Haliotis spp.). Aquaculture 221, 8596.
Loosanoff V.L. and Engle J.B. (1943) Polydora in oysters suspended in the water. Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole 85, 6978.
Lunz G.R. (1941) Polydora, a pest in South Carolina oysters. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 57, 273283.
Martin D. and Britayev T.A. (1998) Symbiotic polychaetes: review of known species. In Ansell A.D. et al. (eds), Oceanography and marine biology: an annual review, vol. 36. London: University College London Press, pp. 217340.
Mizumoto S. (1964) Studies on disease of the shells of the pearl oyster (Pinctada martensii). I. On the species of parasitic polychaetes in the shells, the condition of the damages and the extirpation technique. Bulletin of the National Pearl Research Laboratory 9, 11431155.
Mohammad M-B.M. (1972) Infestation of the pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera (Linneé) by a new species of Polydora in Kuwait, Arabian Gulf. Hydrobiologia 39, 463477.
Okoshi K. and Sato-Okoshi W. (1996) Biomineralization in molluscan aquaculture—growth and disease. Bulletin de l'Institut Océanographique, Monaco 14, 151169.
Radashevsky V.I. and Olivares C. (2005) Polydora uncinata (Polychaeta: Spionidae) in Chile: an accidental transportation across the Pacific. Biological Invasions 7, 489496.
Rainer S. (1973) Polydora and related genera (Polychaeta: Spionidae) from Otago Waters. Journal of the Royal Society, New Zealand 3, 545564.
Read G.B. (1975) Systematics and biology of polydorid species (Polychaeta: Spionidae) from Wellington Harbour. Journal of the Royal Society, New Zealand 5, 395419.
Sato-Okoshi W. (1998) Three new species of polydorids (Polychaeta, Spionidae) from Japan. Species Diversity 3, 277288.
Sato-Okoshi W. (1999) Polydorid species (Polychaeta, Spionidae) in Japan, with descriptions of morphology, ecology and burrow structure. 1 Boring species. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK 79, 831848.
Sato-Okoshi W. (2000) Polydorid species (Polychaeta, Spionidae) in Japan, with descriptions of morphology, ecology and burrow structure. 2 Non-boring species. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK 80, 443456.
Sato-Okoshi W. (2005) Shell borers from the viewpoint of fisheries science. In Hayashi I. and Nakao S. (eds) Benthos in fisheries science. Tokyo: Koseisha-Koseikaku, pp. 7186. [In Japanese.]
Sato-Okoshi W. (2006) Biological observations of shell boring organisms on determination of geographic origin of the host mollusks. In Fukuda Y. et al. (eds), Technologies for species and origin identification of fisheries products. Tokyo: Koseisha-Koseikaku, pp. 139146. [In Japanese.]
Sato-Okoshi W. and Okoshi K. (1997) Survey of the genera Polydora, Boccardiella and Boccardia (Polychaeta, Spionidae) in Barkley Sound (Vancouver Island, Canada), with special reference to boring activity. Bulletin of Marine Science 60, 482–293.
Sato-Okoshi W., Sugawara Y. and Nomura T. (1990) Reproduction on the boring polychaete Polydora variegata inhabiting scallops in Abashiri Bay, North Japan. Marine Biology 104, 6166.
Sato-Okoshi W. and Takatsuka M. (2001) Polydora and related genera (Polychaeta, Spionidae) around Puerto Montt and Chiloe Island (Chile), with description of a new species of Dipolydora, Bulletin of Marine Science 68, 485503.
Smith I.R. (1984) Diseases important in the culture of the Sydney rock oyster. Report of the Brackish Water Fish Culture Research Station. New South Wales Department of Agriculture, Occasional Publications, 10 pp.
Takahashi K. (1937) Notes on the polychaetous annelid, Polydora pacifica n. sp., which bores holes in Pinctada margaritifera (LINNE). Palao Tropical Biological Station Studies 2, 155167.
Vargas L., Quijón P. and Bertrán C. (2005) Polychaete infestation in cultured abalone (Haliotis rufescens Swainson) in Southern Chile. Aquaculture Research 36, 721724.
Whitlegge T. (1890) Report on the worm disease affecting the oysters on the coast of New South Wales. Records of the Australian Museum 1, 115.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 11 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 155 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 16th January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.