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You are here:   animal list > Reteterebella queenslandia




Reteterebella queenslandia Hartman 1863

Spaghetti worm

Lachlan Gleeson (2011)



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Local Distribution and Habitats


Reteterebella queenslandia is commonly found in the sandy intertidal zone of coral reef lagoons throughout the Great Barrier Reef region (Mathers and Bennett, 1993). R. queenslandia associates with coral boulders that are found throughout the inshore sandy reef zone. They also tend to live on coral boulders that have a substantial covering of macroalgae as well as living coral. R. queenslandia also occurs towards the outer zone of the reef flat, however their abundance is significantly less compared to densities observed with coral boulders.

 Sandy inner reef zone where Reteterebella queenslandia is commonly found.

Currently there are only records of R. queenslandia existing at Heron Reef (Mathers and Bennett, 1993). However given that it is so common at heron reef it is unlikely that it is endemic to this area. It is possible that R. queenslandia is found throughout the Great Barrier Reef or along the entire east coast of Australia. It is also possible that several subspecies or sister species exist at adjacent reefs throughout the Great Barrier Reef. Several surveys of adjacent reef need to be conducted to assess the population size of this polychaete throughout the Great Barrier Reef region.

Buccal tentacles of R. queensalndia extending out from a coral boulder during low tide.

Abundance at Heron Island:

A transect survey of the sandy inner reef found that R. queenslandia occurs in densities of approximately 44 organisms per 100 square kilometres. This result was consistent across all areas samples on the island. Using Google maps to estimate the area of suitable inshore sandy reef habitat we found that the area of suitable habitat around Heron Island was approximately 650 000m2. This gave a population estimate at Heron Island of approximately 300 000 individuals.


Google images map of heron island with the island coded pink and the inner sandy reef zone coded red. This area was calculated using GPS with Google maps.