Spiral feather-duster worm Spirorbis, photographed by Piotr Rotkiewicz.

Belongs within: Sabellida.
Contains: Rotularia, Hydroides, Serpulinae.

The Serpulidae are a mostly marine (occasionally freshwater) group of sessile worms that produce calcareous tubes. As such, they are one of the few worm groups to have an extensive fossil record. Prominent genera include Spirorbis, in which the small tube is coiled in a flat spiral and attached to the substrate (Howell 1962).

Characters (from Howell 1962): Body cylindrical; thorax with three to seven segments bearing bundles of hairlike bristles on dorsal side and hooks on ventral side; abdomen with many segments bearing hooks on dorsal side and bundles of hairlike bristles on ventral surface; numerous tentacles around mouth and calcareous or horny operculum; builds calcareous tube that is circular, polygonal, or triangular in cross-section and may be ornamented on outside with concentric raised rings or longitudinal ridges or keels; usually attached for part or all of its length to substratum, sometimes free throughout entire length.

    |--+--Chitinopoma serrula (Stimpson 1854) RP07
    |  `--Protula Risso 1826 RP07, H62
    |       |--*P. rudolphi Risso 1826 H62
    |       `--P. tubularia M62
    `--+--Spirorbis Daudin 1800 RP07, H62 (see below for synonymy)
       |    |--*S. spirorbis (Linnaeus 1758) [=Serpula spirorbis] H62
       |    |--S. borealis Bu79
       |    |--S. catagraphus H62
       |    |--S. corallinae Bu79
       |    |--S. pagenstecheri Bu79
       |    |--S. rupestris Bu79
       |    |--S. tridentatus Bo79
       |    `--S. valvata Berger 1859 KL04
       `--+--+--Galeolaria Lamarck 1818 RP07, H62
          |  |    |--*G. caespitosa Lamarck 1818 H62
          |  |    `--G. hystrix H79
          |  `--Ficopomatus RP07 [incl. Mercierella Fauvel 1923 H62]
          |       |--F. enigmaticus (Fauvel 1923) HB-E05 [=*Mercierella enigmatica H62, H79]
          |       |--F. macrodon H79
          |       |--F. miamiensis (Treadwell 1934) HB-E05
          |       `--F. uschakovi (Pillai 1960) HB-E05
          `--+--Hydroides RP07
             `--Serpulinae RP07

Serpulidae incertae sedis:
  Filograna Oken 1815 [incl. Filogranula Nielsen 1931 non Langerhans 1884] H62
    `--*F. filograna [=Serpula filograna] H62
  Salmacina Claparède 1870 H62
    |--*S. incrustans Claparède 1870 H62
    |--S. aedificatrix H62
    |--S. australis HS01
    `--S. tribranchiata (Moore 1923) SS07
  Josephella Caullery & Mesnil 1896 H62
    `--*J. marenzelleri Caullery & Mesnil 1896 H62
  Filogranula gracilis [incl. Omphalopoma gracilis] H79
  Crucigera zygophora H79
  Vermiliopsis Saint-Joseph 1906 H62
    |--*V. infundibulum (Langerhans 1884) [=Vermilia infundibulum] H62
    |--V. elegantula H62
    `--V. negevensis PTV14
  Pseudovermilia multispinosa H79
  Pomatoleios krausii H79
  Pomatoceros Philippi 1844 H62
    |--*P. triqueter (Linnaeus 1758) [=Serpula triquetra] H62
    |--P. lamarckii H79
    |--P. minutus Rioja 1941 HB-E05
    `--P. strigiceps B64
  Spirobranchus HB-E05
    |--S. cariniferus H79
    |--S. corniculatus HB-E05
    |--S. giganteus H79
    |--S. paumontanus H79
    |--S. polycerus (Schmarda 1861) HB-E05
    |--S. polytrema (Philippi 1844) HB-E05
    `--S. tetraceros H79
  Trigonocrinus Bather 1889 WR78
    `--*T. liratus Bather 1889 WR78
  Ditrupa Berkeley 1835 H62
    |--*D. cornea (Linné 1767) [=Dentalium corneum; incl. De. subulatum Deshayes 1826] H62
    `--D. arietina M62
  Rotularia B59
  Spirulaea Bronn 1828 H62
    `--S. gregaria Etheridge 1907 F71 [=Rotularia gregaria B59]
  Cycloserpula Parsch 1956 H62
  Dorsoserpula Parsch 1956 H62
  Tetraserpula Parsch 1956 H62
  Pentaserpula Parsch 1956 H62
  Hexaserpula Parsch 1956 H62
  Asterosalpinx Sokolov 1948 H62
    `--*A. asiaticus Sokolov 1948 H62
  Camptosalpinx Sokolov 1948 H62
    `--*C. siberiensis Sokolov 1948 H62
  Cementula Nielsen 1931 H62
    `--*C. sphaerica Nielsen 1931 H62
  Chaetosalpinx Sokolov 1948 H62
    `--*C. ferganensis Sokolov 1948 H62
  Diploconcha Conrad 1875 H62
    `--*D. cretacea Conrad 1875 H62
  Discouvermetulus Roverto 1904 H62
    `--*D. pissarroi Roverto 1904 H62
  Ditrupula Nielsen 1931 H62
    `--*D. canteriata (von Hagenow 1840) [=Serpula canteriata] H62
  Genicularia Quenstedt 1858 non De Bary 1858 (ICBN) H62
    `--*G. ornata Quenstedt 1858 H62
  Hamulus Morton 1834 [incl. Falcula Conrad 1870] H62
    `--*H. onyx Morton 1834 H62
  Howellitubus Richardson 1956 H62
    `--*H. whitfieldorum Richardson 1956 H62
  *Jereminella pfenderae H62
  Longitubus Howell 1943 H62
    `--*L. lineatus (Weller 1907) [=Hamulus lineatus] H62
  Neomicrorbis Roverto 1903 H62
    `--*N. granulata (Sowerby 1829) [=Serpula granulata] H62
  Ornatoporta Gardner 1916 H62
    `--*O. marylandica Gardner 1916 H62
  *Paliurus triangularis H62
  Phragmosalpinx Sokolov 1948 H62
    `--*P. australiensis Sokolov 1948 H62
  Placostegus Philippi 1844 H62
    `--*P. tridentatus (Fabricius 1779) [=Serpula tridentatus] H62
  Proterula Nielsen 1931 H62
    `--*P. costata Nielsen 1931 H62
  Protulites Jaskó 1940 H62
    `--*P. segmentata Jaskó 1940 H62
  Pyrgopolon Montfort 1808 [incl. Entalium Defrance 1819, Pharetrium König 1825] H62
    `--*P. mosae Montfort 1808 H62
  Sclerostyla Mørch 1863 H62
    `--*S. ctenactis (Mørch 1863) [=Serpula (*Sclerostyla) ctenactis] H62
  Semiserpula Wetzel 1957 H62
    `--*S. chilensis Wetzel 1957 H62
  Serpentula Nielsen 1931 H62
    `--*S. ampullacea (Sowerby 1829) [=Serpula ampullacea] H62
  ‘Serpularia’ Münster 1840 non Fries 1829 H62
    `--*S. crenata Münster 1840 H62
  Serpulites Blumenbach 1803 H62
    `--*S. coacervatus Blumenbach 1803 H62
  Sinuocornu Howell 1959 H62
    `--*S. curtum (Salter 1848) [=Serpulites curtus] H62
  Spirorbula Nielsen 1931 H62
    `--*S. aspera (von Hagenow 1840) [=Serpula aspera] H62
  Streptindytes Calvin 1888 H62
    `--*S. acervulariae Calvin 1888 H62
  Torlessia Bather 1905 H62
    `--*T. mackayi Bather 1905 H62
  Turbinia Michelin 1845 H62
    |--*T. graciosa Michelin 1845 H62
    `--T. abbreviata H62
  Vermilia Lamarck 1818 H62
    `--*V. triquetra Lamarck 1818 H62
  Spirographis spallanzanii H04

Spirorbis Daudin 1800 RP07, H62 [incl. Gyromices Goeppert 1853 H62, Microconchus Murchison 1839 H62, Palaeorbis Beneden & Coemans 1867 H62, Spirillum Oken 1807 H62; Spirorbinae]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B59] Boreham, A. U. E. 1959. Cretaceous fossils from the Chatham Islands. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 86 (1): 119–125, pl. 111.

[Bo79] Bosence, D. W. J. 1979. The factors leading to aggregation and reef formation in Serpula vermicularis L. In: Larwood, G., & B. R. Rosen (eds) Biology and Systematics of Colonial Organisms pp. 299–318. Academic Press: London.

[Bu79] Buss, L. W. 1979. Habitat selection, directional growth and spatial refuges: why colonial animals have more hiding places. In: Larwood, G., & B. R. Rosen (eds) Biology and Systematics of Colonial Organisms pp. 459–497. Academic Press: London.

[F71] Fletcher, H. O. 1971. Catalogue of type specimens of fossils in the Australian Museum, Sydney. Australian Museum Memoir 13: 1–167.

[H04] Haeckel, E. 1899–1904. Kunstformen der Natur. Bibliographisches Institut: Leipzig und Wien.

[HS01] Hayward, B. W., A. B. Stephenson, M. S. Morley, W. M. Blom, H. R. Grenfell, F. J. Brook, J. L. Riley, F. Thompson & J. J. Hayward. 2001. Marine biota of Parengarenga Harbour, Northland, New Zealand. Records of the Auckland Museum 37: 45–80.

[H79] Hove, H. A. ten. 1979. Different causes of mass occurrence in serpulids. In: Larwood, G., & B. R. Rosen (eds) Biology and Systematics of Colonial Organisms pp. 281–298. Academic Press: London.

[HB-E05] Hove, H. A. ten, & M. N. Ben-Eliahu. 2005. On the identity of Hydroides priscus Pillai 1971—taxonomic confusion due to ontogeny in some serpulid genera (Annelida: Polychaeta: Serpulidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 85 (2): 127–145.

[H62] Howell, B. F. 1962. Worms. In: Moore, R. C. (ed.) Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology pt W. Miscellanea: Conodonts, Conoidal Shells of Uncertain Affinities, Worms, Trace Fossils and Problematica pp. W144–W177. Geological Society of America, and University of Kansas Press.

[KL04] Klug, C., & A. Lehmkuhl. 2004. Soft-tissue attachment structures and taphonomy of the Middle Triassic nautiloid Germanonautilus. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 49 (2): 243–258.

[M62] Monniot, F. 1962. Recherches sur les graviers a Amphioxus de la région de Banyuls-sur-Mer. Vie et Milieu 13: 231–322.

[PTV14] Parry, L., A. Tanner & J. Vinther. 2014. The origin of annelids. Palaeontology 57 (6): 1091–1103.

[RP07] Rousset, V., F. Pleijel, G. W. Rouse, C. Erséus & M. E. Siddall. 2007. A molecular phylogeny of annelids. Cladistics 23: 41–63.

[SS07] Struck, T. H., N. Schutt, T. Kusen, E. Hickman, C. Bleidorn, D. McHugh & K. M. Halanych. 2007. Annelid phylogeny and the status of Sipuncula and Echiura. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7: 57.

[WR78] Wienberg Rasmussen, H. 1978. Articulata. In: Moore, R. C., & C. Teichert (eds) Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology pt T. Echinodermata 2. Crinoidea vol. 3 pp. T813–T927. The Geological Society of America, Inc.: Boulder (Colorado), and The University of Kansas: Lawrence (Kansas).

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