Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 2004
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 2004

General Invasion History:

North American Invasion History:


Timarete punctata sp. A is an infaunal polychaete of the family Cirratulidae. The anterior portion of the body is thickened, but tapered and elongated posteriorly, with a shallow ventral groove. Branchiae resembling strands of spaghetti, extend from all the segments of the body, and are longer on the anterior and middle portions of the body. The prostomium is broad and triangular, and bluntly pointed. Eyes are absent. The peristomium is short, aproximately 1.5 X the length of the prostomium, with two annulations. Tentacular filaments, in groups of 5 are present on chaetigers 3 and 4. Notopodia and neuropodia are poorly developed all along the body. In chaetigers 1-10, branchiae arise just dorsal to the notopodia, but from chaetigers 10-26, they originate closer to the midline of the body. From chaetigers 26 to 42, they move closer to the notopodia,and continue just above the notopodia to the end of the body. Capillary chaetae are present on the notopodium and neuropodium of each chaetiger. Acicular spines, about 1/3 the length of the capillary chaetae, and somehat sigmoid and hook-like, occur first on the neuropodia of chaetiger 6 and on the notopodia of chaetiger 8. Anterior chaetigers bear three acicular spines, and two capillary chaetae on the notopodia and three acicular spines and two capillary chaeta on the neuropodia. The middle chaetigers, bear two acicular spines, and two capillary chaetae on the both the notopodia and neuropodia. Posterior chaetigers have one acicular spine, and one capillary chaeta on the notopodia, and two spines and one capillary on the neuropodia. The pygidium is triangular, and the anal opening is placed dorsally (Cinar 2007). The largest specimen reported was 50 mm with 70 chaetigers, from South Africa. The body of preserved worms is light to dark brown, with black spots on the body, and black bars on the branchiae and tentacles (Day 1967; Cinar 2007; Seixas et al. 2017). Living worms of species A have bright yellow branchiae, and tentacles, with black bars only on the tentacles. Species B has black bars on both the tentacles and branchiae (Seixas et al. 2017).

Molecular analysis indicates that there are two cryptic species under the name Timarete punctata, one of which (species A.) is widely distributed around the world, with very little genetic diversity (Seixas et al. 2007). The type specimen of Timarete punctata was collected by Grube from Christiansted, St. Croix, in the Virgin Islands in 1845 (Cinar 2007). Worms apparently of this species, are known from the tropical Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. A genetic survey found that T. punctata species A, was found in Panama, several sites in Brazil, and Hawaii. Sepcies B was found only in Bahia, Brazil (Seixa set al. 2020).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Annelida
Class:   Polychaeta
Subclass:   Palpata
Order:   Canalipalpata
Suborder:   Terebellida
Family:   Cirratulidae
Species:   punctata


Cirrhatulus punctatus (Grube, 1859)
Cirratulus multicirratus (Treadwell, 1936)
Cirratulus niger (Hartman, 1939)
Cirratulus nigromaculatus (Grube, 1869)
Cirrhatulus punctatus (Augener, 1918)
Cirriformia punctata (Grube, 1859)
Timarete punctata (Petersen, 1999)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Timarete caribous
Brazil (Magalhaes et al. 2014)

Timarete ceciliae
Brazil (Magalhaes et al. 2014)

Timarete hawaiensis
Hawaii, Magalhães and Bailey-Brock 2014)

Timarete oculata
Brazil (Magalhaes et al. 2014)

Timarete punctata species B
Seixas et al. 2017, Bahia, northern Brazil



Timarete punctata is a marine cirratulid polychaete, most often assoicated with soft sediments, but also found in fouling communtiies and rocky habitats (Cinar 2007). The mode of sexual reproduction is poorly known, though oocytes were found in one specimen. Asexual reproduction through fission and fragmetation is common.. Cittatulid polychaets are associated with soft sediments, but are also found on hard calcarous bottomd, and among tunicates, barnacles, mussels, and sponges in fouling communities (Cinar 2007; Seixas et al. 2017). The specimens in Cevik harbor were found in an old tire (Cinar 2007). Cirratulids are known to be deposit-feeders (Fauchauld and Jumars 1979). Accumulated sediment, feces, and pseudofeces in fouling communtiies are a potential source of food.


Detritus, microalgae

Trophic Status:

Deposit Feeder



General HabitatRockyNone
General HabitatUnstructured BottomNone
General HabitatCoral reefNone
General HabitatMarinas & DocksNone
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Tidal RangeLow IntertidalNone
Vertical HabitatEndobenthicNone

Life History

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Maximum Length (mm)50None
Broad Temperature RangeNoneSubtropical-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNonePolyhaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
CAR-IV None 1845 Def Estab
CAR-III None 1931 Def Estab
WA-V None 1936 Crypto Estab
MED-V None 2005 Def Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 2004 Def Estab
CAR-II None 2004 Def Estab
SP-XI None 0 Crypto Estab
SP-V None 1954 Crypto Estab
CIO-I None 1984 Crypto Estab
AUS-VII None 0 Crypto Unk
AUS-XIX None 2010 Crypto Estab
SA-III None 0 Def Estab
NEP-VII None 0 Crypto Estab
PAN_CAR Panama Caribbean Coast 2017 Def Estab
RS-2 None 1869 Crypto Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Baurick, Tristan 2/24/2018 Insects feast on Louisiana wetlands,, inviting the Gulf in. <missing URL>

Charpy, Loic; Palinska, Katarzyna A. P.;; Casareto, Beatriz; Langlade, Marie José; Suzuki; Yoshimi ; Abed, Raeid M. M.; Golubic, Stjepko (None) Dinitrogen-Fixing Cyanobacteria in Microbial Mats of Two Shallow Coral Reef Ecosystems, None <missing volume>: <missing location>

Dann, Alison L.; Ellard, Kevin; Grove, Simon J.; Willan, Richard C. (2020) Genetic confirmation of Mya japonica Jay, 1857 (Bivalvia: Myidae) in Tasmania, Australia: first record of any species of Mya in the southern hemisphere, BioInvasiob=ns Records 9(1): 103–108

Essink,, Karel; Oost, Peter, Albert (2019) How did Mya arenaria (Mollusca; Bivalvia) repopulate European waters in mediaeval times?, Marine Biodiversity 49: Published online

Fauchald, Kristian; Jumars, Peter A. (1979) The diet of worms : A study of polychaete feeding guilds, Oceanography and Marine Biology, an Annual Review 17: 193-284

Fuquay, Jen Maucher undated Dasci Cyanobacteria ID Guide. <missing URL>

Hartman, Olga (1966) Polychaetous annelids of the Hawaiian Islands, Occasional Papers of Bernice P. Bishop Museum 23(11): 163-252

Ruiz, Gregory M.; Geller, Jonathan (2018) Spatial and temporal analysis of marine invasions in California, Part II: Humboldt Bay, Marina del Re, Port Hueneme, and San Francisco Bay, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center & Moss Landing Laboratories, Edgewater MD, Moss Landing CA. Pp. <missing location>

Seixas, Victor Correa; Zanol, Joana; Magalhaes, Wagner F.; Paiva, Paulo Cesar (2017) Genetic diversity of Timarete punctata (Annelida: Cirratulidae): Detection of pseudo-cryptic species and a potential biological invader, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 197: 214-220

U.S. National Museum of Natural History 2002-2021 Invertebrate Zoology Collections Database.

Wiltshire, K.; Rowling, K.; Deveney, M. (2010) <missing title>, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Adelaide. Pp. 1-232