General Description

Body hidden within a brown-grey, soft tube. Feeding tentacles at the opening of the tube are joined to the head in an elongate spiral. No flap (operculum) protects the opening. Often in groups. Often found in groups. Distinguished from the similar native species Sabellastarte ausraliensis by the feeding tentacles arranged in a spiral rather than a tuft, and abdominal bristles arranged in a spiral rather than a simple C-shape. Tube up to 20 cm long.


European Fan Worms form dense colonies and feed by filtering particles out of the water with their tentacles. They attach to reef and artificial structures, including aquaculture farms. This large fan worm is very common in several harbours in southern Australia where it has been accidentally introduced from the Mediterranean Sea through shipping activity.


Europe, New Zealand and Southern Australia.


Reef and seagrass areas in harbours and bays, to depth of 30 m.

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