Sabellid "parasite" on abalone (fwd)

Geoff Read gread at
Tue Apr 9 13:16:27 EST 1996

I believe one or two Annelida subscribers in Californian may know more
about this one? Please what species is it firstly? GBR.

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date:          Sun, 7 Apr 96 13:07:56 PDT
To:            gread at
From:          c_culver at (Carrie Culver)
Subject:       Re: Sabellid "parasite" 

Hi -

Thank you for the information on subscribing to the annelid listserver. 
The sabellid polychaete I am working with is an introduced species, native
to South Africa.   In California it was originally found only in
California abalone aquaculture facilities, but apparently now it looks
like it may be "getting out" into the environment. The sabellid is quite
crafty in that it settles on the margin of the growing edge of molluscs
which elicits a response by the host to cover it with nacreous shell thus
forming a tube (its home).  We have attempted to eradicate the adult worms
from the shell with no success; either there was no effect from the
treatment or the ab was negatively impacted first.  The only treatment for
the adults appears to be covering the shell with wax (or other nontoxic
paints) which effectively closes off the tubes and suffocates the worms. 
This, although somewhat effective, is very labor intensive and thus
something abalone growers are hesitant to do.  We did examine potential
biocontrols with no success, although this was prior to learning the
sabellid was not native to California.  I am curious if anyone knows of
any substance or technique that can be used to control these worms; either
the adult or the larvae.  The larvae is benthic and thus is exposed for a
short time.  Any ideas/thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


Carrie Culver

* Carrie Culver                 E-Mail   c_culver at *
* Department of Biology
* University of California
* Santa Barbara, CA  93106

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