Invasion History

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

General Invasion History:


North American Invasion History:


Hydroides dianthus secretes a calcareous tube, as do other serpulid polychaetes. Serpulids have a feathery crown of modified prostomial palps, called radioles (the prostomium is the first segment, projecting above the mouth). The radioles can be folded and withdrawn into the tube. One of tne of the radioles is modified to form an operculum, which acts as a plug when the animal contracts. The peristomium (segment behind the mouth) is folded back to form a collar, which bears uniramous parapodia, with a distinctive set of collar chaetae, with spines or serrations. The collar is the first of seven thoracic chaeta-bearing segments (chaetigers). The subsequent segments have biramous parapodia. The dorsal branch of the parapodium is called the notopodium; the ventral isne the neuropodium. Chaetae in the two branches and along the body can vary greatly in their morphology, which can be critical in the taxon. The tubes have two longitudinal ridges, and lack a peristome (flared opening). The branchial (gill) crown consists of about 16 radioles each on the left and right sides of the mouth. It comprises about 1/4 of the worm's length.e.. The peduncle is cylindrical. The opercular funnel has 31 radii with pointed tips. The verticil has 10 yellowish spines, all bending ventrally. The verticil lacks a central tooth. The collar chaetae:are bayonet chaetae, with two blunt-rounded to short teeth at their base, and a smooth distal blade. The thorax has six chaetigers bearing short, rasp-like setae, called uncinae, and limbate chaetae. The abdomen has about 89 segments (69-119, n=4). The overall length is about 16.5 mm (8-30, n=54. The worm is yellow to light brown. (Description from Bastida-Zavala and ten Hove 2002; Bastida-Zavala 2017).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Annelida
Class:   Polychaeta
Subclass:   Palpata
Order:   Canalipalpata
Suborder:   Sabellida
Family:   Serpulidae
SubFamily:   Serpulinae
Genus:   Hydroides
Species:   dianthus


Eupomotus dianthus (Hartman, 1945)
Hydroides dianthoides (Augener, 1922)
Serpula dianthus (Verrill, 1873)
Serpula dianthus var. citrina (Verrill, 1873)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Hydroides diramphus

Hydroides elegans

Hydroides gairacensis

Hydroides santacrucis



Life History – The serpulid polychaete Hydroides dianthus feeds by extending its feathery gills and trapping plankton in the water column, which are transported by cilia to the mouth. The sexes are separate, as in most serpulid species. The larvae are planktotrophic and spend about 4-16 days in the plankton at 21-⁰C, with development being sdelayed at low food levels (Toonen and Pawli 2001). Temperature doubtless affects larval development, but we have noit found references.

EcologyHydroides dianthus tolerates salinities as low as 1 PSU , but is usually associated with marine salinities (30-37 PSU, Bastida-Zavala and ten Hove 2002). However, in the Suez Canal, it was found in the Great Bitter Lakes and Lake Timsah, where salinities exceeded 40 PSU. To our knowledge, the temperature tolerance of H. elegans has not been studied experimentally. Hydroides elegans is comparatively tolerant of tributyltin antifouling compounds, wood preservative chemicals, low oxygen, and hydrogen sulfide, and benefits from the dense phytoplankton concentrations in polluted harbors (Udhayakumar and Karande 1996; Tarakanadha et al. 2004). It secretes a calcareous tube, often irregularly coiled, on hard surfaces such as rocks, pilings, floats, shells, corals, mangroves, and ships’ hulls. While it often forms dense aggregations on surfaces, it is not known to form reefs. The aggregations of worms appear to result from hydrodynamic processes and passive settlement, rather than by chemical cues and active swimming (Walters et al. 1999).



Trophic Status:

Suspension Feeder



Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Salinity (‰)1Filed (Bastida-Zavala and ten Hove 2017)
Maximum Salinity (‰)51.7Filed (Bastida-Zavala and ten Hove 2017)
Minimum Duration4Toonen and Pawlik 2001 (experimental, 21 C, fed )
Maximum Duration18Toonen and Pawlik 2001 (experimental, 21 C, starved)
Minimum Length (mm)8Bastida-Zavala and ten Hove 2002
Maximum Length (mm)30Bastida-Zavala and ten Hove 2002
Broad Temperature RangeNoneCold temperate-Subtropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneOligohaline-Hyprehaline

General Impacts

Regional Impacts

MED-IIINoneEcological ImpactHabitat Change
Construction of reefs
NWP-4aNoneEcological ImpactHabitat Change
cboIMP_Impact txtIMP_Type IMP_Comments Habitat Change Ecological Impact Hydroides dianthus reefs provided habitat for dense populations of polyps of the native jellyfish Aurelia coeruea (Dong et al. 2018).
NWP-3aNoneEcological ImpactHabitat Change
Reefs formed by H. dianthus provided habitat for dense aggregations of polyps of Aurelia coerulea.

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
NA-ET3 Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras 1873 Crypto Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 0 Crypto Estab
MED-II None 1967 Crypto Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 0 Crypto Estab
MED-III None 1888 Crypto Estab
NWP-3b None 2006 Def Estab
NEA-II None 1970 Def Estab
MED-V None 0 Def Estab
MED-VII None 1874 Crypto Estab
MED-IV None 0 Def Estab
MED-VI None 1861 Crypto Estab
NEA-V None 1927 Def Estab
NEA-IV None 0 Def Estab
CAR-II None 0 Crypto Estab
SEP-H None 2008 Def Estab
WA-I None 0 Def Estab
NWP-4a None 2013 Def Estab
MED-IX None 2009 Def Estab
PAN_PAC Panama Pacific Coast 2008 Def Estab
SA-II None 2012 Def Estab
NWP-3a None 2016 Def Estab
NA-ET2 Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod 1975 Crypto Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Aviz, Daiane; Da Silva, Roseanne Figueira; Filho, José Souto (2018) Sabellaria wilsoni (Polychaeta: Sabellariidae): an ecosystem engineer and promoter of zoobenthos diversity in the Brazilian Amazon coast, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 99(5): 1099-1109

Bastida-Zavala, J. Rolando; McCann, Linda D.; Keppel; Erica; Ruiz, Gregory M. (2017) The fouling serpulids (Polychaeta: Serpulidae) from United States coastal waters: an overview, European Journal of Taxonomy 344: 1-76

Shalovenko, N. N. (2020) Tendencies of Invasion of Alien Zoobenthic Species into the Black Sea, Russian Journal of Biological Invasions 11(2): . 164–171

Abdelsalam, Khaled Mahmood (2018) First record of the exotic lysmatid shrimp Lysmata vittata (Stimpson, 1860) (Decapoda: Caridea: Lysmatidae) from the Egyptian Mediterranean coast, Mediterranean Marine Science 19(1): 124-131

Bastida-Zavala, J. Rolando; Ten Hove, Harry A. (2002) Revision of Hydroides Gunnerus, 1768 (Polychaeta: Serpulidae) from the Western Atlantic region., Beaufortia 52(9): 103-178

Ben-Eliahu, M. N. (1976) Polychaeta cryptofauna from rims of similar intertidal vermetid reefs on the Mediterranean coast of Israel.and in the Gulf of Elat: Serpulidae (Polychaeta Sedentaria), Israel Journal of Zoology 25: 103-119

Ben-Eliahu, M. Nechama; ten Hove, Harry A. (2011) Serpulidae (Annelida: Polychaeta) from the Suez Canal: From a Lessepsian migration perspective (a monograph), Zootaxa 2848: 1-147

Bianchi, C. N.; Morri, C. (2001) The battle is not to the strong: Serpulid reefs in the lagoon of Orbetello (Tuscany: Italy)., Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 53: 215:220

Blakeslee, April M. H.; Miller, A. Whitman; Ruiz, Gregory M.; Kerstin Johannesson · Carl André ·Johannsson, Kerstin;· André, Carl; Panova, Marina (2021) Population structure and phylogeography of two North Atlantic Littorina species with contrasting larval development, Marine Biology 168: <missing location>

Çinar, Melih Ertan (2013) Alien polychaete species worldwide: current status and their impacts, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 93(5): 1257-1278

Cornelio, Michele; Manzoni, Alberto (1999) Caratterizzazione stagionale degli insediamenti di organismi macrobentonici su substrati sperimentali nel bacino centrale della laguna di Venezia., Bollettino del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Venezia 49: 135-144

Dong, Zhijun; Sun, Tingting; Wang, Lei (2018) The biogenic reefs formed by the alien polychaete Hydroides dianthus (Serpulidae, Annelida) favor the polyp stage of Aurelia coerulea (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa) in a coastal artificial lake, Marine Pollution Bulletin <missing volume>: 86-91

Ghobashy, Abdel Fattah A.; Ghobashy, Mahi A. F. (2005) Marine fouling studies in Egypt: A- Serpulids, Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research 31(2): 89-102

Goulletquer, Philippe; Bachelet, Guy; Sauriau, Pierre; Noel, Pierre (2002) Invasive aquatic species of Europe: Distribution, impacts, and management, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. Pp. 276-290

Hall, Stephanie A.; Stewart-Clark, Sarah E.; Kupriyanov, Elena (2022) Spatial and temporal monitoring of invasive Hydroides dianthus (Verrill, 1873) (Annelida, Serpulidae) in Eel Lake, Argyle, Nova Scotia using a species-specific molecular assay, Management of Biological Invasions 13: Published online

Knight-Jones, Phyllis; Knight-Jones, Wyn; Ergen, Zeki (1991) Sabelliform polychaetes, mostly from Turkey's Aegean coast, Journal of Natural History 25(4): 837-858

Leone, Donald E. (1970) The maturation of Hydroides dianthus, Biological Bulletin 138(3): 306-315

Link, Heike; Nishi, Ejiroh; Tanaka, Katsuhiko; Bastida-Zavala, Rolando; Kupriyanova, Elena K.; Yamakita, Takehisa (2009) Hydroides dianthus (Polychaeta: Serpulidae), an alien species introduced into Tokyo Bay, Japan., Marine Biodiversity Records <missing volume>: 1-6

Otani, Michio; Yamanishi, Ryohei (2010) Distribution of the alien species Hydroides dianthus (Verrill, 1873) (Polychaeta: Serpulidae) in Osaka Bay, Japan, with comments on the factors limiting its invasi, Planton and Benthios Research 5(2): 62-68

Pancuci-Papadopoulou., M. A.; Zenetos, A , Corsini-Foka; Politou, Ch. (2005) Update of marine alien species in Hellenic waters., Mediterranean Marine Science 6(2): 1-11

Pederson, Judith, and 13 authors (2021) 2019 Rapid Assessment Survey of marine bioinvasions of southern New England and New York, USA, with an overview of new records and range expansions, Bioinvasions Records 10(2): 22-–237

Qiu, J.W.; Qian, P-Y (1997) Combined effects of salinity, temperature and food on early development of the polychaete Hydroides elegans., Marine Ecology Progress Series 152: 79-88

Robinson, C. B. (1904) The distribution of Fucus serratus in North America, Torreya 3: 132-134

Rodrigues, Andrielle Raposo; Skinner, Luis Felipe; dos Santos Brasil, Ana Claudia (2021) Do Morphological Similarities and human-induced dispersal explain the non-native occurrence of Serpulidae (Annelida) in Southwest Atlantic? Taxonomic detailing is the key, Papeis Avulsos Zoologia de Sao Paolo 60: Published online

Toonen, Robert J.; Pawlik, Joseph R. (2001) Settlement of the gregarious tube worm Hydroides dianthus (Polychaeta: Serpulidae). II. Testing the desperate larva hypothesis, Marine Ecology Progress Series 224: 115-131

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

Verrill, A.E.; Smith, S.I. (1873) <missing title>, 1 Report of the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, <missing place>. Pp. 1-757

Wang, Jianjun; Huang, Zongguo, (1993) Fouling polychaetes of Hong Kong and adjacent waters., Asian Marine Biology 10: 1-12

Wong, Eunice; Kupriyanova, Elena K.; Hutchings, Pat; Capa, María; Radashevsky, Vasily; ten Hove, Harry A. (2014) A graphically illustrated glossary of polychaete terminology: invasive species of Sabellidae, Serpulidae and Spionidae, Memoirs of Museum of Victoria 71: 327-342

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, United States Navy Dept. Bureau of Ships (1952) Marine fouling and its prevention., United States Naval Institute., Washington, D.C.. Pp. 165-206

Zibrowius, Helmut (1981) Serpulidae (Anellida, Polychaeta) indopacifiques etablis dans le region de Beyrouth, Liban., Rapportes de la Commision Internationale de la Mer Mediterranee 27(2): 159-160

Zibrowius, Helmut (1991) Ongoing modification of the Mediterranean marine fauna and flora by the establishment of exotic species., Mesogee 51: 83-107

Zibrowius, Helmut (1994) Introduced Species in European Coastal Waters, European Commission, Brussels. Pp. 44-65

Zibrowius, Helmut, Thorp, Clifford H. (1989) A review of the alien serpulid and spirorbid polychaetes in the British Isles, Cahiers de Biologie Marine 30(3): 271-285