European fan worm

Mary Anne Stacy of the Port Noarlunga Aquatics Centre recently discovered an unusual fan worm on a pylon of the Port Noarlunga Jetty. Suspecting it to be a Sabella worm (a species introduced from European waters in ships’ ballast) Mary Anne organised for it to be identified.

Her fears proved to be correct.

This is especially disturbing as although this highly competitive worm is particularly abundant in the Port River area, they were not thought to have spread further south than the “Blocks” at Glenelg. Sabella competes very successfully with native species for growing space and nutrients and is capable of rapidly colonising large areas. As such it poses a considerable threat to the diversity of reef fauna and flora.

It is also extremely difficult to eradicate. Please report their exact location of any other suspect fan worms you encounter. Don’t remove them- we will assist you to have them identified.

Courtesy – February 1998 Reefwatcher

Leave a Reply