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Loimia medusa (Savigny in Lamarck, 1818) 

Spaghetti-Worm or the Red-Spotted Worm


John McLaughlin (2014)

 


Fact Sheet

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Summary


Brief Summary


Classification


Names


Physical Description


General Body Plan


The Tentacles


Colouration


Ecology


Habitats


Crypsis


Larvae


Behaviour


Overview


Feeding


Predatory Defense Mechanisms


Survival Mechanisms


Reproduction


Reproductive Characteristics


Reproductive Strategy


Case Study


Ecological Role


Overview


Secondary Production


Sediment Processing


Biogeographic Distribution


Life History


Larval Development


Building of Sandy Tube


Early Benthic Development


Conservation and Threats


References & Links

Reproductive Strategy



Loimia medusa displays characteristics which allow it to survive and reproduce in a variety of environmental conditions. Studies have shown that whilst many traits and features of L. medusa typify those of an extreme opportunistic species, it also shares many with those of equilibrium species. Particularly during the summer months L. medusa takes on the lifestyle of an opportunistic species with populations demonstrating extremely rapid growth and maturation, short life spans and a relatively high P/B ratio (Pearson and Rosenberg 1978). On the other hand several aspects of L. medusa’s lifecycle, for example growth to a large size, high fecundity, the absence of intense settlement and low mortality rates and planktonic larvae, are all suggestive of equilibrium species (R. Seitz & L. Schaffner, 1995). 
This intertwining of life strategies highlights that there is no singly dichotomy between either equilibrium and opportunistic species. In the environments in which L. medusa inhabits, such as estuarine or reef systems, an intermediate between being able to take advantage of opportunistic events and those in equilibrium may be the most successful survival strategy. 
Whilst adults of this species are relatively large and dwell deep within the sediment they are not necessarily categorised as being part of an equilibrium community. Opportunistic species are usually defined by their ability to take advantage and respond quickly to disturbance events, and it is suggested that L. medusa may be more than capable of such responses to sudden disruption occasions. Recent studies have given data to suggest L. medusa and several other polychaete species have acquired an exceptional ability to colonize large scale disturbed areas, such as those affected by substantial dredging, at rates comparable to species characterised as opportunists, whilst maintaining many features of an equilibrium species (Schaffner, 1997). 


Classification

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Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Annelida
Class
Polychaeta
Order
Terebellida
Family
Terebellidae
Genus
Loimia

Synonyms

Terebella medusa (Savigny, 1822)

Common Names

medusa worm
spaghetti worm
Medusenwurm
Spaghetti-Wurm
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Annelida
Class
Polychaeta
Order
Terebellida
Family
Terebellidae
Genus
Loimia
Species
medusa