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Shipworm (Family: Teredinidae) - Wiki
Subject: Shipworm (Family: Teredinidae) - Wiki
Shipworm-Teredo sp.jpg
Resolution: 400x377 File Size: 83824 Bytes Upload Date: 2008:01:15 09:32:19

Shipworm (Family: Teredinidae) - Wiki

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia (or Pelecypoda)
Order: Myoida
Family: Teredinidae Rafinesque, 1815

[Photo] Shipworm (Teredo sp.) from USGS.

Shipworms are notorious for boring into, and eventually destroying, wooden structures which are immersed in sea water, including piers, docks and wooden ships. Sometimes called "termites of the sea", shipworms are not in fact worms, but rather a group of very unusual saltwater clams with very reduced shells. They are marine bivalve molluscs (Eulamellibranchiata) in the family Teredinidae.

They bore into submerged wood, and bacteria in a special organ called the gland of Deshayes enable them to digest cellulose. The excavated burrow is usually lined with a calcareous tube.

The shipworms belong to several genera, of which Teredo is the most commonly mentioned. The best known species is Teredo navalis. Historically, Teredo concentrations in the Caribbean Sea have been substantially higher than in most other salt water bodies.

Shipworms have slender worm-like forms, but nonetheless possess the characteristic structures of bivalves. The valves of the shell of shipworms are small separate parts located at the anterior end of the worm, used for excavating the burrow. Shipworms greatly damage wooden hulls and marine piling, and have been the subject of much study to find methods to avoid their attacks.

In the early 1800s, the behaviour and anatomy of the shipworm inspired the great British engineer Marc Brunel. Based on his observations of how the shipworm's valves simultaneously enable it to tunnel through wood and protect it from being crushed by the swelling timber, Brunel designed an ingenious modular iron tunnelling framework - a tunnelling shield - which enabled workers to successfully tunnel through the highly unstable river bed beneath the Thames. The Thames Tunnel was the first successful large tunnel ever built under a navigable river.

Genera within the family Teridinidae
Bankia Gray, 1842
Lyrodus Binney, 1870
Nausitoria Wright, 1884
Nototeredo Bartsch, 1923
Spathoteredo Moll, 1928
Teredo Linnaeus, 1758
Teredora Bartsch, 1921
Teredothyra Bartsch, 1921
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