Monday, April 19, 2010

Seashore Polychaetes

Polychaetes play an important role in the functioning of many marine communities. This is due to a number of factors, such as their proliferation within certain habitats (such as benthic regions) and the diversity of their feeding modes. (Giangrande et al., 2005 Marine Pollution Bulletin 50 pp. 1153–1162). These range from surface deposit, suspension, mud swallowing, carnivory and herbivory to in a few species even parasitism.

Many burrow into the sediment both for protection against predation and also in search of food, and others actively swallow mud and deposited particulate matter in order to obtain their nutrition. Others are tubiculous and some of these species are highly gregarious (Hutchings, 1998 Biodiversity and Conservation 7 pp. 1133-1145).

Below are some common polychaete species to be found on Irish seashores.

Ragworm, Nereis diversicolor

Sand mason, Lanice conchilega

Honeycomb worm, Sabellaria alveolata

Keel worm, Pomatoceros triqueter

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