The Seas
by FS Russell & CM Yonge (Warne 1928) (2nd edition 1936, and reprinted numerous times)
contains several pages of information.

Eleven species of shipworms in the mollusc family Teredinidae have been discovered off the coast of Britain. However, it is Common Shipworm, Teredo navalis, that is most likely to be the occupant of driftwood or burrowing in the floating timber, groynes and wooden boats. The signs are not always obvious. The opening may only be about the size of a pinhead and can be painted over on an infected boat. In the Common Shipworm, the interior burrow created by the rocking motion of the 10 mm long worm-like mollusc may be 12 mm wide. With extensive burrows, the slight jarring of the boat or something jammed under an infected hull can quickly cause the boat to develop a major hole and rapid sinking.

It is sometimes thought that the shipworm is only a major problem in warmer seas than around the British Isles. The larvae are planktonic and attracted specifically to wood. In tropical seas a piece of untreated wood may be attacked in 6 weeks, whereas in the north east Atlantic Ocean the time before the larvae settle and begin to bore into the wood. The Common Shipworm is found in brackish seas, surviving in salinities as low as 9 and is destructive in the Baltic.

Another species the European Shipworm, Nototeredo norvegica, is commonly found in floating timber where signs of the burrowing are often obvious. Xylophaga dorsalis is a shipworm in the family Pholadidae that makes smaller burrows and the isopod (wood louse) crustacean called the Gribble, Limnoria lignorum, rasps into wood.

Notes by Andy Horton

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Waterbury, John B., C. Bradford Calloway, & Ruth Dixon Turner.  1983.  A cellulolytic
nitrogen-fixing bacterium cultured from the gland of Deshayes in shipworms (Bivalvia:
Teredinidae).  Science 221(4618): 1401-1403  (30 Sept.)
White, F. D.  1929.  Studies on marine wood borers.  III. A note on the breeding season
of Bankia (Xylotrya) setacea in Departure Bay, B. C.  Canada, Biological Board of
Canada, Contributions to Canadian Biology and Fisheries (n.s.)4(3): 19-25 [1-7]  (12
Wright, E. Perceval.  1866.  Contributions to a natural history of the Teredidae.  Linnean
Society of London, Transactions 25(3): 561-568, pls. 64, 65
Yakovlev, Yuri M. & B. B. Malakhov.  1987.  Organizatsiia karlikovykh samtsov
dvustvorchatogo molliuska Zachsia zenkewitschi  (Cardiida, Teredinidae) i ee
formirovanie v ontogoeneze.  [Structure of diminutive males of the bivalve mollusk
Zachsia zenkewitschi (Cardiida, Teredinidae) and the formation of this structure in
ontogenesis].  Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 66(4): 499-509  (post-18 March)
Yonge, Charles Maurice.  1926d.  Protandry in Teredo norvegica.  Quarterly Journal of
Microscopical Science 70(3)[(n.s.)279]:  391-394  (Sept.)
-----.  1927.  Formation of calcareous tubes round the siphons of Teredo.  Nature
119(2983): 11-12  (1 Jan.)

See also about our book at http://sbnature.org/atlas/bivbook/htm

     Gene Coan

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Ruth Turner's Survey and Illustrated Catalogue or the Teredinididae. Museum
of Comparative Zoology, Harvard 1966 and identification of Marine Woodboring
Mollusks, Ch. 1, Marine Borers, Fungi and Fouling Organisms of Wook, ed.
E.B.G. Jones and S.K. Eltringham, 1971 are somewhat dated but should give
you a start.

Alison Kayi

Sender: eakay@zoology.zoo.Hawaii.EDU
Received: from zool.zoo.hawaii.edu (zoology.zoo.hawaii.edu [])


More Teredo references

There is a lab in The Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, that
works only about Teredo. The best expert on this molluscs died this year (Dr
Ruth Turner), but I think that ther are in that lab some researchs that works
with her and continuing her works.
Here in Brazil there are some researchs on the functional anatomy of some
species of Teredinidae in the São Paulo University and others researchs that
works with the ecology, distribution and fisiology about Teredinidae in Rio
de Janeiro Federal University. This group stopped its works on teredo but
they have a lot of information about this animals.  Sorry about my english.

Maria Júlia

University of São Paulo : Dr Sonia Lopes (sonialop@uol.com.br)
Rio de Janeiro Federal Univ. : Dr Sergio Henrique (shgsilva@biologia.ufrj.br
                                               Dr Andrea Junqueira


According to Turner (1966), T. navalis can be active and reproduce at salinities from normal seawater down to 9 and can survive for a month at 4. The reference is Turner, R.D. A Survey and Illustrated Catalogue of the Teredinidae. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard Univ., 1966.

Alan Kohn

Sender: kohn@u.washington.edu

NB:  I did not ask about the larvae (an oversight) but it is probably up to you to research this.

The temperature, I thought was important, but according to Enc. Britannica, Teredo causes a problem in the Baltic.
"The common shipworm, T. navalis (20 to 45 cm [8 to 18 inches] long), has a worldwide
distribution but is especially destructive on the Baltic Sea coast."


Andy Horton
British Marine Life Study Society


Salinities are in p.p.t. (Just in case the symbols did not reproduce by the time the message is received.)

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Dear Andy,
The following reference:
Ruth D. Turner, 1966. A Survey and Illustrated Catalogue of the Teredinidae. --
The Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. 265 pp.

Taxonomy but also life history, many references etc.
An some time ago I discovered the following web-page:
Perhaps this is useful.

Best wishes,
Tom Meijer

 Dutch Malacological Society:

I did find a reference in RSK Barnes "Invertebrate Zoology":

Morton, B.,: The diurnal feeding and digestion in shipworms. Oceangr. Mar.
Biol. Ann. Rev., 16:107-144.


Andy Horton
British Marine Life Study Society
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