Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1862
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1913
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 1862

General Invasion History:

The native region of Teredo navalis is unknown. In warm waters, including the Mediterranean and Atlantic waters of Spain and Portugal, shipworms (possibly including T. navalis) were known from ancient times, as destroyers of ships including some of the Spanish Armada (Hoppe 2002; Borges 2013). When a dramatic outbreak of shipworms in the Netherlands occurred in 1732, it was considered an invasion from the Orient, and a punishment from God (Sellius 1733, cited in Hoppe 2002). However, sporadic local range expansions are reported from the Baltic, Barnegat Bay (New Jersey) and other regions, probably due to fluctuating environmental conditions (Hoppe 2002; Richards et al. 1984; Appelqvist et al. 2014). Hoppe (2002) and other recent authors (Wolff 2005; Buschbaum et al. 2012) treat it as cryptogenic in the Eastern Atlantic. A recent genetic survey indicates that East Atlantic T. navalis has high haplotype diversity, low nucleotide diversity, and little genetic differentiation throughout European waters, including the Baltic and Mediterranean, and populations are very similar to a North American population (near Boston, Massachusetts). The origin of T. navalis remains unresolved (Weigelt et al. 2016).

The status of T. navalis in the Northwest Atlantic is complicated by some early confusion with the native species Bankia gouldi (see below), but careful examination of the historical record supports its introduced status on the East and Gulf coasts. Teredo navalis is definitely introduced (1st record 1920) to the West Coast of North America, from San Diego to southern British Columbia (Wallour 1960; Carlton 1979; Quayle 1992; Cohen and Carlton 1995). It is considered introduced in South Africa (Mead et al. 2011a; Mead et al. 2011b), southern Australia (Ibrahim 1981; NIMPIS 2013), and based on geographical isolation, probably the Atlantic Coast of South America as well (Martins Silva et al. 1988).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

Teredo navalis was first reported in the Northeast Pacific in 1913 at Mare Island Shipyard, in San Pablo Bay, a northern basin of San Francisco Bay, California (Barrows 1917; Kofoid 1921; Kofoid and Miller 1927, cited by Carlton 1979). Its appearance was dramatic, since Mare Island has low salinity and an absence of native woodborers. By 1920, the shipworms had caused extensive damage to wooden structures in much of the Bay. The Naval Shipworm can tolerate salinities of 5-9 PSU, and spread throughout the Bay as far as Carquinez Straits, which connects San Pablo Bay to the brackish waters of Suisun Bay. Its range in the Bay fluctuates with rainfall and river flow, reaching Suisun Bay during dry periods (Atwood 1922; Carlton 1979; Cohen and Carlton 1995). In 1927, Koifoid and Miller (1927, cited by Carlton 1979) reported T. navalis as occasional in Los Angeles Harbor. It was also reported in adjacent San Pedro Bay, Port Hueneme, and San Diego Bay in Navy-sponsored shipworm surveys (Wallour 1960). Teredo navalis was reported from Willapa Bay, Washington in 1957 (Carlton 1979; Quayle 1992) and Coos Bay, Oregon in 1988 (Carlton 1989; Wonham and Carlton 2005). In 1963, the Naval Shipworm was found in Pendrell Sound, British Columbia (Quayle 1992).

Invasion History on the East Coast:

The status of Teredo navalis in northwest Atlantic waters has been debated. Carlton (1992) treated this species as cryptogenic, stating that ‘early American records include reports both from visiting vessels (Russell 1839; Massachusetts – MA) and from established populations (DeKay 1843; New York – NY)’. Subsequently, re-examination of historical evidence has caused Ruiz et al. (2000) to change the status of this species to a definite introduction. Teredo navalis was absent in wood of a 5,000 yr-old fishweir in Boston, though B. gouldi was found (Johnson et al. 1942). While some 19th century American biologists apparently confused T. navalis with the native B. gouldi (then known as Xylotria fimbriata), and reported established populations, mostly occurring south of New York City (e.g De Kay 1843). Other conchologists, who did distinguish the two forms, reported T. navalis only from the hulls of foreign ships: 'Found in the sheathing of vessels from foreign seas' (Essex County MA, Russell 1839); 'From a British frigate sunk during the Revolutionary War' (Hell Gate, New York Harbor, Tryon 1862); 'The only locality in which I have found this species is an old half-buried wreck near the entrance of the harbour' (New Haven CT, Perkins 1871); 'from ship timbers' (Boston, MA Gould 1870). By the late 19th century, T. navalis apparently became widespread in New England waters (Verrill and Smith 1873; Johnson 1915; Sumner et al. 1913b). In Boston Harbor, in 1893, two wooden scows sank in the harbor and were found to have been extensively bored by T. navalis. 'The teredo has for a long time existed on the southern coast of New England, but our harbor, on account of the temperature of the water, was supposed to be exempt' (Manley 1893). By 1882, it was found on parts of the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia (Murphy 1882, cited by Kindle 1918), and by 1918 it was abundant and well-established in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (Kindle 1918). South of Cape Hatteras, at Beaufort, North Carolina (NC) in 1893, it was reported as comprising 'a very small portion' of the shipworms found there (Sigerfoos 1907). Dall (1889) listed it as occurring in New Jersey, West Florida, and Texas.

In the early and middle 20th century, when the National Research Council, and later the US Navy, sponsored extensive surveys of shipworm activity, T. navalis was found from Newfoundland to southern Florida (FL) (Atwood 1922; Brown 1953; Wallour 1960; Museum of Comparative Zoology 2012; U.S. National Museum of Natural History 2012). This shipworm was abundant in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (Kindle 1918; Bousfield 1960), at Woods Hole, MA (Grave 1928); Barnegat Bay, New Jersey (NJ) (Nelson 1922); and off Ocean City, Maryland (Scheltema and Truitt 1956). From New Jersey southward, especially in more estuarine habitats, T. navalis is often absent or outnumbered by the native shipworm Bankia gouldi. South of Cape Hatteras, it is joined, and often dominated by, subtropical species such as T. bartschi and Lyrodus spp. It occurs as far south as Fort Pierce and Key West, Florida (FL) (Brown 1953; Wallour 1960).

Invasion History on the Gulf Coast:

Teredo navalis was reported as occurring on the Gulf Coast of Florida and Texas (TX) by Dall (1889). In 20th century surveys, it was found in Tampa Bay, Panama City, and Pensacola Bay, FL; and Corpus Christi, TX. It was accompanied by B. gouldi, T. bartschi, T. furcifera, and Lyrodus spp. (Brown 1953; Wallour 1960; Museum of Comparative Zoology 2010).

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

As discussed above, the native region of T. navalis is unknown. We regard it as cryptogenic in the northeast Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. In the northeastern Atlantic, it occurs in the Black and Mediterranean Seas, and along the European coast north to Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. It occurs in the Baltic Sea as far as eastern Germany (Nair 1959; Kristensen 1979; Reise 1999; Hoppe 2002; Borges et al. 2010; Sen et al. 2010; Didziulis 2011; Borges et al. 2014). The occurrence of catastrophic outbreaks in dikes in the Netherlands in the 18th century suggested to people at the time that it may have been introduced (Sellius 1733, cited by Hoppe 2003), but the occurrence of shipworms in the Mediterranean has been known since ancient times. In the 16th century, attacks by shipworms on ships of the Spanish Armada in French and Portuguese harbors may have contributed to the collapse of the attack on England (Hoppe 2002).

In the Western Atlantic, introduced populations of T. navalis are established in temperate and subtropical waters, including Florida, Bermuda, southern Brazil and Argentina, but records are scarce in tropical waters (Brown 1953; Wallour 1960; Junqueira et al. 1989; Martins Silva et al. 1988; Museum of Comparative Zoology 2007). In the Eastern Atlantic, this shipworm may have been one of the earliest invaders to South Africa, but the first published records are from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in the late 1800s (Noble 1886, cited by Mead et al. 2011a; 2011b).

In the Indo-West Pacific and northwest Pacific, we consider T. navalis to be cryptogenic. In tropical waters, such as India (Pati et al. 2012), its records are scattered, and it co-occurs with a large number of tropical species (Wallour 1960; Turner 1966; Museum of Comparative Zoology 2008; U.S. National Museum of Natural History 2013). It appears to be more common in the northwest Pacific, where it is common and widespread around China, Japan, Korea, and north to the Vladivostok region of Russia (Turner 1966; Golikov et al. 1976; Tsunoda 1979; Huang 2001).

In the southwest Pacific, T. navalis is apparently introduced to the southern coast of Australia. As in other regions, it was probably introduced at a much earlier date, but it was first reported from Port Jackson, Sydney in 1928, as T. austini (Iredale 1928, cited by Turner 1966). To our knowledge, it has not been reported from New Zealand.


Teredo navalis belongs to the family Teredinidae (shipworms), which are highly modified mollusks, hardly recognizable as bivalves, adapted for boring into wood. The shell is reduced to two small, ridged valves, which cover the head and are used for grinding and tearing wood fibers. The body is naked and elongated, and ends with two siphons, protected by elaborate calcareous structures called pallets (Turner 1966).

The shell of T. navalis, like those of other species, has three subglobular lobes. The smallest of these is the auricle, which is semicircular and subtriangular. The interior of the shell has a long curved process (styloid apophysis). The pallets are variable, but have a relatively short stalk, shorter than the cap, and lack a transverse ridge. The distal margin of the inner face is slightly to moderately concave, while the outer face is excavated at the tip, forming a U-shape. The distal third of the cap is made of periostracum, which is pale yellow, covering the distal half and extending to form narrow distal margins. Variability in the shells and pallets has led to many specific names (e.g. Bartsch 1923; Turner 1966), which are now treated as synonyms. Description from: Turner 1966; Turner 1971; Abbott 1974; Coan et al. 2000; NIMPIS 2013.

Veligers of T. navalis have a typical D-shape on release, at ~70-90 μm length. Initially their length exceeds their height, but they become proportionately taller, and roughly circular at ~100 μm. By settlement, the height of T. navalis veligers (~200-240 μm) exceeds the length (~190-220 μm) (Chanley and Andrews 1971; Fuller et al. 1989). Transformation and development of the larval shell into the greatly modified adult form is described by Fuller et al. (1989). Teredo navalis becomes mature at about 15 mm length, and may reach 500-1000 mm in length (Grave 1928; Mann and Gallager 1985).

Potentially misidentified species - The diversity of shipworms in tropical waters is very great, but decreases at higher latitudes. Most of the species listed below have been reported in Florida, Caribbean, West Coast, or Hawaiian waters. However, in temperate waters, many collectors historically identified all or most shipworms as T. navalis, including the Northwest Atlantic native Bankia gouldi.


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Mollusca
Class:   Bivalvia
Subclass:   Heterodonta
Order:   Myoida
Superfamily:   Pholadoidea
Family:   Teredinidae
Genus:   Teredo
Species:   navalis


Pholas teredo (O. F. Muller, 1776)
Teredo marina (Sellius, 1733)
Teredo austini (Iredale, 1932)
Teredo batavus (Spengler, 1792)
Teredo beachi (Bartsch, 1921)
Teredo beaufortana (Bartsch, 1922)
Teredo borealis (Roch, 1931)
Teredo japonica (Clessin, 1893)
Teredo morsei (Bartsch, 1922)
Teredo novangliae (Bartsch, 1922)
Teredo pocilliformis (Roch, 1931)
Teredo sellii (van der Hoeven, 1850)
Teredo sinensis (Roch, 1929)
Teredo vulgaris (Lamarck, 1801)
Serpula teredo (da Costa, 1776)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Bankia gouldi
Bartsch (1908). This shipworm is native to the Western Atlantic (New Jersey to Brazil, occurring as a subfossil north to Massachusetts), known in the 19th century as Xylotria fimbriata, and was lumped by some collectors (e.g. De Kay 1843) with T. navalis.

Lyrodus floridanus
W Atlantic, subtropical

Lyrodus affinis
Cosmopolitan, tropical, subtropical

Lyrodus bipartitus
Cosmopolitan, tropical, subtropical

Lyrodus pedicellatus
Cosmopolitan, tropical, subtropical, warm-temperate, introduced in NE Pacific

Nototerdo knoxi
W Atlantic, native, subtropical, tropical

Psiloteredo megotara
North Atlantic, boreal

Teredo bartschi
Cosmopolitan, tropical, subtropical, introduced in NE Pacific

Teredo clappi
Cosmopolitan, tropical, subtropical

Teredo furcifera
Cosmopolitan, tropical, subtropical

Teredo johneoni
Cosmopolitan, tropical, subtropical



Shipworms dig long burrows in submerged wood in marine environments. They burrow by rocking and abrading the wood fibers. The mantle covers most of the length of the body, and secretes a calcareous lining along the interior of the burrow. They normally have their anterior end, with head and shells inside the burrow, and their siphons protruding. The pallets plug the burrow when the siphons are retracted (Barnes 1983).

Shipworms are protandrous hermaphrodites, beginning life as male and transforming to female, but they have no capacity for self-fertilization. Males release sperm into the water column, which fertilizes eggs for the female. The fertilized eggs are then brooded in the gills. Females may produce 1-5 million eggs during a season (Grave 1928). Larvae are retained in the gills to the veliger stage (Hoagland 1986a; Richards et al. 1984). Teredo navalis releases larvae at 11-30°C. The larvae of T. navalis are planktotrophic for 11-35 days (Culliney 1975; Hoagland 1986a; Hoagland 1986b; Richards et al. 1984). They settle in the pediveliger stage, and then rapidly metamorphose and begin boring into wood within 2-3 days. They quickly develop a calcified shell, pallets, and burrow lining (Turner and Johnson 1971). Shipworms may obtain most of their nutrition from plankton (Paalvast and van der Velde 2013), but some comes from wood, which consists largely of cellulose. Symbiotic bacteria fix nitrogen, essential for protein synthesis (Turner and Johnson 1971; Barnes 1983).

Teredo navalis is known from driftwood, pilings, vessels, and other wooden structures (Verrill and Smith 1873; Richards et al. 1984; Hoagland 1986b; Hoppe 2002). Adults tolerate water temperatures from 0 to 30°C and salinities of 6 to 45 PSU (Hoagland 1986b). Humic substances in the water, derived from soil and vegetation, may cause premature settlement and interfere with site selection in T. navalis larvae. This may be one factor accounting for the scarcity of T. navalis in southeastern US estuaries, and the dominance of the more tolerant Bankia gouldi (Culliney 1975). In tropical waters, other species of Teredo and Lyrodus may be more successful at higher temperatures (Hoagland 1986b). As long as their piece of wood is intact, shipworms have few predators, but when the riddled wood disintegrates, they are rapidly eaten by fishes, crabs, and other predators. They are vulnerable to protozoan parasites, such as Minchinia teredinis, which can cause extensive mortality (Hillman et al. 1990). Populations of T. navalis and other shipworms are subject to great year-to-year variations in abundance, settlement, and resulting damage to wooden structures. These are often attributed to variations in temperature, salinity, water quality, etc., but often the causes are not clear (Nelson 1922; Brown 1953; Richards et al. 1984; Hoppe 2002).


Wood; phytoplankton


Protozoan parasites


Other shipworms, gribbles (Limnoria spp.)

Trophic Status:




General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatMarinas & DocksNone
General HabitatVessel HullNone
Salinity RangeMesohaline5-18 PSU
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Tidal RangeLow IntertidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone
Vertical HabitatPelagicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)0Field Data: Grave 1928; Hoagland 1986a; Richards et al. 1984
Maximum Temperature (ºC)30Field Data: Grave 1928; Hoagland 1986a; Richards et al. 1984
Minimum Salinity (‰)5Field and Experimental Data: Chanley 1971; Hoagland 1986a; Richards et al. 1984
Maximum Salinity (‰)45Field and Experimental Data: Chanley 1971; Hoagland 1986a; Richards et al. 1984
Minimum Reproductive Temperature11Hoagland 1986a; Richards et al. 1984
Maximum Reproductive Temperature30Highest temperature for larval release (Culliney 1975)
Minimum Reproductive Salinity9Hoagland 1986a; Richards et al. 1984
Minimum Duration11Culliney 1975; Grave 1928; Turner 1971; Richards et al. 1984
Maximum Duration35Culliney 1975; Grave 1928; Turner 1971; Richards et al. 1984
Minimum Length (mm)15Minimum size at maturity (male) Mann and Gallager 1985
Maximum Length (mm)1,000Sizes are highly variable. Animals grew up to 193 mm in 113 days in culture (Mann and Gallager 1985). Maximum sizes in the field may reach ~1000 mm, but 370-600 are more usual maxima (Grave 1928; Kristenen 1979; Paalvast and van der Velde 2011).
Broad Temperature RangeNoneCold temperate-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneMesohaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Teredo navalis is probably the most widespread marine wood-borer in the world, and has been a major factor in human maritime activities for many centuries. It has destroyed ships, boats, docks, pilings, buoys, and seawalls around the world (Atwood 1922; Turner 1966; Hoppe 2002). Sudden invasions, range-extensions, and population fluctuations have ravaged ports and coastlines where shipworms were previously rare or unknown (Manley 1893; Atwood 1922; Nelson 1922; Turner 1973; Cohen and Carlton 1995; Hoppe 2002). Shipworm invasions have probably also had considerable impacts on coastal habitats by speeding the breakup and recycling of wood, but this has not been studied. In addition, human attempts to protect wood against shipworm invasions, by using metals, tar, creosote, and other substances has had doubtless impacts on water quality and the biota of harbors.

Economic Impacts

Shipping - Teredo navalis and other shipworms have plagued navigators since the early days of saltwater boating and shipping. The Naval Shipworm has been especially important because of its wide tolerance to variable temperature and salinity, and its ability to survive in estuaries, coastal waters, and moderately polluted harbors. Ship hulls were often sheathed in copper or lead, treated with tar, or constructed of woods that are less palatable to the worms, including oaks and some tropical hardwoods. Pilings, wooden railroad trestles, wharves, buoys, and floats in harbors are especially vulnerable. These were often treated with creosote, or with salts of toxic metals, such as copper, chromium, or arsenic (Atwood 1922; Hoppe 2002). Teredo navalis has frequently appeared in harbors or estuaries where shipworms had been rare or absent, either as a result of invasions, or of changing environmental conditions (or both), including Barnegat Bay, New Jersey (Nelson 1922; Turner 1973); Boston Harbor, Massachusetts (Manley 1893); the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada (Kindle 1918); San Francisco Bay, California (Atwood 1922; Carlton 1979; Cohen and Carlton 1995); and the western Baltic (Hoppe 2002; Didziulis 2011). Since these ports used vast quantities of untreated wood, shipworm populations could increase very rapidly, causing catastrophic damage. In the 1920s, an outbreak of T. navalis in San Francisco Bay caused an estimated $615 million dollars (in 1992 currency rates) in damage (Cohen and Carlton 1995). In 1946, shipworms were reported to cause an annual $55 million ($500 million in current dollars) of damage to waterfront structures in the United States (Clapp 1946, cited by Scheltema and Truitt 1954). The transition to metal ships, and the use of concrete, fiberglass, plastic, and other materials has resulted in decreased shipworm populations and damage.

Preservation of existing piers involves wrapping them in plastic (polyvinyl chloride or polyethylene) or encasing them, with a jacket of PVC or fiberglass, then filling the space with epoxy or cement grout. The latter method is much more expensive, but protects the pilings against floating debris, ship damage, etc (Abood et al. 1995). Costs of these repairs in a large port area can amount to hundreds of millions of dollars (Foderaro 2011).

Fisheries - Teredo navalis frequently causes damage to lobster pots, oyster-trays, and other wooden fisheries structures (Nelson 1922; Grave 1928).

Industry - In coastal areas where logging occurs, or where logs are imported, they may be transported or stored in floating rafts. In British Columbia, the decline of logging has led to a decrease in the abundance of a population of T. navalis in Pendrell Sound (Quayle 1992). Storage of logs in harbors was a common practice in Japan, and shipworms were considered a serious problem for the lumber industry (Tsunoda 1979).

Health (Safety) - In the 18th century in the Netherlands, shipworms destroyed 50 km of wooden seawalls, which had to be replaced by stone. The worms were declared to be a plague sent by God (Hoppe 2002; Wolff 2005). In general, the collapse of waterfront structures due to shipworms is a serious safety concern in harbor areas, especially where abandoned piers are used by children and fishermen.

Aesthetic - With the consolidation and mechanization of modern shipping and fishing, much waterfront property, including docks and piers, are used for tourism and recreation. In New York Harbor, where T. navalis has returned and caused extensive damage, due to improved water quality, New York City is planning to spend $200 million over the next few decades to encase and preserve piers to be used as part of waterfront parks (Foderaro 2011). In the Baltic Sea, a different concern is the destruction of archaeologically important shipwrecks, which up to now have been preserved from borers by the low salinity (Hoppe 2002).

Ecological Impacts 

The ecological implications of T. navalis invasions are not well studied. However, T. navalis tolerates a wide range of temperature and salinity and has an extensive global range. It quickly damages wooden manmade structures, and in doing so, speeds the breakdown and recycling of wood in estuaries and coastal waters. Damaged wood may provide habitat for small animals, but the consumption of coarse woody debris may also remove shelter for those animals. Further, shipworms, can aid the transport of other invading species, by opening holes and creating galleries of decaying wood in the hulls of wooden ships, where sedentary organisms can reside (Carlton and Hodder 1995). In addition to impacts directly caused by shipworms, the various toxic substances used to prevent or discourage shipworm attacks have added to the burden of pollution in many of the world's harbors.

Regional Impacts

WA-VNoneEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
'Noble (1886) noted that attacks of Teredo navalis were 'exceptionally virulent' on the Port Elizabeth breakwater (southeast coast). Waldron (1904a,b) noted that at the turn of the previous century, it was most prolific and destructive on the warmer parts of the South African coast, such as in Mossel Bay (southeast coast) in the Indian Ocean. Douglas (1981) reported on control measures for Teredo navalis on a jetty at Knysna, based on a 10- year study.' (Mead et al. 2011b).
NA-ET1Gulf of St. Lawrence to Bay of FundyEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Murphy (1882, cited by Kindle 1918) observed destruction of pilings by T. navalis in Sydney Harbor, Nova Scotia, and at sites along the Atlantic east coast of Nova Scotia. However, some of these observations may have involved other species, such as Psiloteredo megotara.
NA-S3NoneEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Damage to pilings was noted in Charlottetown Harbour, and elsewhere on Prince Edward Island (Kindle 1918).
NA-ET3Cape Cod to Cape HatterasEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
In the region between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras, T. navalis has been observed to damage boats, pilings, floats, and wooden buoys, since the late 19th century (Verrill and Smith 1873; Swain, in Manley 1893; Nelson 192; Richards 1984). Settlement and the extent of damage by the shipworms varies greatly with environmental conditions, including temperature, salinity, and humic compounds in the water (Brown 1953; Wallour 1970). In Barnegat Bay, periods of drought in 1921-1922 favored heavy settlement (Nelson 1922), as did warm, saline effluent from a nuclear power plant in the 1970s (Turner 1973; Richards et al. 1984). In New York Harbor, extensive pollution limited shipworm settlement and fouling organisms (Atwood 1920), so the harbor was considered 'clean' by ship captains. The absence of shipworms permitted the use of wooden pilings without the expense of chemical treatment or encasing them. After the Clean Water act of 1972, and pollution cleanup efforts, T. navalis returned to the harbor, causing extensive damage to wooden pilings (Abood et al. 1995; Foderaro 2011).

In the 1980s-1990s, in New York waters, extensive projects for protection of pilings were conducted at the New York Passenger Ship Terminal, and the many barge piers of the New York Sanitation Department, located around the city. These involved wrapping the piers in plastic, performed by divers (Abood et al. 1995). Another extensive repair project involved a 300 m (1000 ft) long and 21 m (70 ft) wide pier in Virginia, (probably in or near Norfolk) in which many damaged piling had to be replaced, and more than 2,000 timber pilings were wrapped in plastic (Abood et al. 1995). Impacts to wooden structures in Chesapeake Bay are probably due mostly to Bankia gouldi , but T. navalis is present in the lower Bay (Brown 1953; Scheltema 1954).
N070Damariscotta RiverEconomic ImpactFisheries
Teredo navalis was reported to destroy oyster trays in the Damariscotta River (Darling Marine Center 2001).
NA-ET2Bay of Fundy to Cape CodEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Damage to boats and pilings in Boston Harbor was first reported in 1893 (Manley 1893). Routine shipworm surveys, sponsored by the Navy from the 1930s to 1959 show great year-to year variation in shipworm settlement and abundance in Gulf of Maine harbors (Brown 1953; Wallour 1960).
NA-ET2Bay of Fundy to Cape CodEconomic ImpactFisheries
Teredo navalis was reported to destroy oyster trays in the Damariscotta River (Darling Marine Center 2001).
N050Penobscot BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Damage to pilings, docks, and floats was reported in Belfast Harbor and Stonington, ME (Darling Marine Center 2001).
N170Massachusetts BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Damage to boats and pilings in Boston Harbor was first reported in 1893 (Manley 1893). Routine shipworm surveys, sponsored by the Navy from the 1930s to 1959 show great year-to year variation in shipworm settlement and abundance in Boston Harbor (Brown 1953; Wallour 1960).
M010Buzzards BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Teredo navalis was noted in pilings, wharves, and wooden buoys in Woods Hole Harbor and Buzzards Bay (Verrill and Smith 1873). During shipworm surveys in 1934-1959, settlement varied greatly, but in some years was rated as very heavy (Brown 1953; Wallour 1906).
N195_CDA_N195 (Cape Cod)Economic ImpactShipping/Boating
Teredo navalis was noted in pilings, wharves, and wooden buoys in Vineyard Sound (Verrill and Smith 1873). Heavy settlement was observed in some years, in surveys from 1948 to 1959 (Brown 1954; Wallour 1960).
M060Hudson River/Raritan BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
In the 20th century, extensive pollution in New York Harbor, limited fouling and boring organisms including T. navalis. Consequently, ship captains regarded the harbor as 'clean', because of the absence of pests. The polluted water permitted the extensive use of wooden pilings, which were cheaper than steel or concrete. The Clean Water Act of 1972 prompted the improvement of water quality, eventually resulting in the return of shipworms. In the 1990s, many of these piers collapsed (Abood et al. 1995; Foderaro 2011). In the 1980s-1990s, in New York waters, extensive projects for protection of pilings were conducted at the New York Passenger Ship Terminal, and the many barge piers of the New York Sanitation Department, located around the city. These involved wrapping the piers in plastic, which was performed by divers (Abood et al. 1995).
M060Hudson River/Raritan BayEconomic ImpactAesthetic
New York City is planning to spend $200 million over the next few decades to encase and preserve piers to be used as part of waterfront parks (Foderaro 2011).
M090Delaware BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Heavy settlement of Teredo navalis was observed in some years at Lewes DE (Brown 1953, Wallour 1960).
M070Barnegat BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Railroad bridges across the Bay, built in 1886, were severely damaged by shipworms, and were rebuilt in 1889, with creosote-treated wood (Richards et al. 1984). Extensive settlement and damage to pilings and test blocks were observed in 1921-22 (Nelson 1922). Beginning in 1969, heated effluents from the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant raised water temperatures in portions of the Bay, promoting heavy infestations of Teredo navalis, T. bartschi, and Bankia gouldi. Extensive damage to pilings and other marina structures occurred, requiring rebuilding (Turner 1973; Richards 1984).
M070Barnegat BayEconomic ImpactFisheries
In 1921, platforms used for oyster culture were destroyed by an infestation of T. mavalis (Nelson 1922).
M120Chincoteague BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Extensive settlement of T. navalis was found in a survey at Ocean City MD, but this shipworm was scarce within Chincoteague Bay (Scheltema and Truitt 1956).
NA-ET3Cape Cod to Cape HatterasEconomic ImpactFisheries
Teredo navalis frequently causes damage to lobster pots, oyster-trays, and other wooden fisheries structures (Nelson 1922; Grave 1928).
NA-ET3Cape Cod to Cape HatterasEconomic ImpactAesthetic
Shipworms pose a substantial threat to public and private waterfront property used in recreation, entertainment, and tourism. New York City is planning to spend $200 million over the next few decades to encase and preserve piers to be used as part of waterfront parks (Foderaro 2011).
CAR-VIICape Hatteras to Mid-East FloridaEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
In shipworm surveys in 1922-24 and 1940s-1959, extensive damage to wooden test panels was found from North Carolina to central Florida. However, in this region, T. navalis was joined by several other species, including Bankia gouldi, T. bartschi and Lyrodus pedicellatus, so the extent of its impacts are difficult to determine (Brown 1953; Wallour 1960).
NEP-VNorthern California to Mid Channel IslandsEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Before the invasion of T. navalis, woodborers were rare in much of San Francisco Bay. The spread of the shipworm may have been aided by a dry period, with high salinities permitting the spread inland past the Mare Island shipyard to Suisun Bay. Boring by Teredo navalis destroyed virtually all the wooden structures in the northern part of the Bay, with damage exceeding half a billion dollars (in 1995 dollars) (Atwood 1922; Carlton 1979; Cohen and Carlton 1995). In recent years, impacts of T. navalis have not been reported (Cohen and Carlton 1995).
P090San Francisco BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Before the invasion of T. navalis, woodborers were rare in much of San Francisco Bay. The spread of the shipworm may have been aided by a dry period, with high salinities, permitting the spread inland past the Mare Island shipyard to Suisun Bay. Boring by Teredo navalis destroyed virtually all the wooden structures in the northern part of the Bay, with damage exceeding half a billion dollars (in 1995 dollars) (Atwood 1922; Carlton 1979; Cohen and Carlton 1995).
NEA-IINoneEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Teredo navalis and other shipworms have long posed a threat to wooden boats, ships, and structures in northern European waters (Hoppe 2002; Wolff 2005; Did?iulis 2011).
NEA-IINoneEconomic ImpactHealth
Safety, Shoreline Protection- Teredo navalis was first described in 1731, when it caused massive damage to wooden dikes in the Netherlands, destroying 50 km of seawall, resulting in disastrous floods (Hoppe 2002; Wolff 2005; Didžiulis 2011).
B-IVNoneEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Periodic invasions of T. navalis have occurred in the Baltic Sea, in the 1930s, 1950s, and since 1993, attacking wooden pilings and seawalls as far east as Rostock, Germany (Hoppe 2002).
B-IVNoneEconomic ImpactAesthetic
A major concern in the eastward spread of T. navalis in the Baltic is the threat to many historic shipwrecks, which are important archaeological sites, which up to now have been preserved from borers by the low salinity (Hoppe 2002).
NWP-4aNoneEconomic ImpactIndustry
In Japan, imported logs were often stored in floating rafts before processing. Teredo navalis was the most common shipworm attacking these stored logs (Tsunoda 1979).
NWP-4bNoneEconomic ImpactIndustry
In Japan, imported logs were often stored in floating rafts before processing. Teredo navalis was the most common shipworm attacking these stored logs (Tsunoda 1979).
NWP-3bNoneEconomic ImpactIndustry
In Japan, imported logs were often stored in floating rafts before processing. Teredo navalis was the most common shipworm attacking these stored logs (Tsunoda 1979).
NWP-3aNoneEconomic ImpactIndustry
In Japan, imported logs were often stored in floating rafts before processing. Teredo navalis was the most common shipworm attacking these stored logs (Tsunoda 1979).
M130Chesapeake BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Impacts to wooden structures in Chesapeake Bay are probably due mostly to Bankia gouldi (Brown 1953; Scheltema 1954), but T. navalis is present in the lower Bay. One extensive project for shipworm repair involved a 300 m (1000 ft) long and 21 m (70 ft) wide pier in Virginia, in which many damaged pilings had to be replaced and more than 2,000 timber pilings were wrapped in plastic (Abood et al. 1995).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
NA-ET1 Gulf of St. Lawrence to Bay of Fundy 1882 Def Estab
NA-S3 None 1918 Def Estab
NA-ET2 Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod 1893 Def Estab
NA-ET3 Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras 1862 Def Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 1893 Def Estab
NA-ET4 Bermuda 1946 Def Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 1889 Def Estab
CAR-IV None 1960 Def Unk
CAR-III None 1960 Def Unk
NEP-VI Pt. Conception to Southern Baja California 1927 Def Unk
NEP-V Northern California to Mid Channel Islands 1913 Def Estab
NEP-IV Puget Sound to Northern California 1957 Def Estab
NEP-III Alaskan panhandle to N. of Puget Sound 1963 Def Estab
SA-II None 1920 Def Estab
NWP-3b None 1893 Crypto Estab
NWP-3a None 0 Crypto Estab
NWP-4a None 0 Crypto Estab
EAS-III None 0 Crypto Estab
NEA-II None 1730 Crypto Estab
NEA-III None 0 Crypto Estab
NEA-IV None 0 Crypto Estab
NEA-V None 0 Crypto Estab
AR-V None 1931 Crypto Estab
B-I None 1931 Crypto Estab
B-II None 0 Crypto Estab
B-III None 0 Crypto Estab
B-IV None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-II None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-III None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-IV None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-VII None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-V None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-VI None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-VIII None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-IX None 0 Crypto Estab
AUS-IV None 0 Def Estab
AUS-V None 0 Def Estab
AUS-VII None 1931 Def Estab
AUS-VIII None 0 Def Estab
AUS-X None 1928 Def Estab
AUS-XI None 1961 Def Estab
WA-V None 1886 Def Estab
EAS-II None 1875 Crypto Estab
WA-IV None 1886 Def Estab
SP-VII None 0 Crypto Estab
M130 Chesapeake Bay 1924 Def Estab
M060 Hudson River/Raritan Bay 1862 Def Estab
N130 Great Bay 1924 Def Estab
P050 San Pedro Bay 1927 Def Unk
P170 Coos Bay 1988 Def Estab
M020 Narragansett Bay 1893 Def Estab
M040 Long Island Sound 1871 Def Estab
M010 Buzzards Bay 1871 Def Estab
M090 Delaware Bay 1948 Def Estab
S190 Indian River 1995 Def Estab
M080 New Jersey Inland Bays 1873 Def Estab
S180 St. Johns River 1959 Def Estab
G070 Tampa Bay 1921 Def Estab
G130 Pensacola Bay 1944 Def Estab
G310 Corpus Christi Bay 1944 Def Estab
P020 San Diego Bay 1951 Def Unk
P062 _CDA_P062 (Calleguas) 1960 Def Unk
P090 San Francisco Bay 1913 Def Estab
P270 Willapa Bay 1957 Def Estab
N020 Englishman/Machias Bay 1960 Def Estab
N036 _CDA_N036 (Maine Coastal) 1960 Def Estab
N050 Penobscot Bay 1960 Def Estab
N060 Muscongus Bay 1960 Def Estab
N080 Sheepscot Bay 1960 Def Estab
N100 Casco Bay 1937 Def Estab
N110 Saco Bay 1960 Def Estab
N125 _CDA_N125 (Piscataqua-Salmon Falls) 1960 Def Estab
N170 Massachusetts Bay 1893 Def Estab
N180 Cape Cod Bay 1924 Def Estab
N185 _CDA_N185 (Cape Cod) 1960 Def Estab
N195 _CDA_N195 (Cape Cod) 1871 Def Estab
M050 Great South Bay 1924 Def Estab
M070 Barnegat Bay 1921 Def Estab
M120 Chincoteague Bay 1952 Def Estab
M128 _CDA_M128 (Eastern Lower Delmarva) 1985 Def Estab
S020 Pamlico Sound 1948 Def Estab
S030 Bogue Sound 1893 Def Estab
S056 _CDA_S056 (Northeast Cape Fear) 1959 Def Estab
S045 _CDA_S045 (New) 1948 Def Estab
S080 Charleston Harbor 1922 Def Estab
S183 _CDA_S183 (Daytona-St. Augustine) 1960 Def Estab
S206 _CDA_S206 (Vero Beach) 1960 Def Estab
G110 St. Andrew Bay 1953 Def Estab
NWP-4b None 0 Crypto Estab
SA-I None 1920 Def Estab
SP-XIII None 0 Crypto Estab
P093 _CDA_P093 (San Pablo Bay) 1913 Def Estab
S120 Savannah River 1924 Def Estab
S175 _CDA_S175 (Nassau) 1924 Def Estab
MED-X None 1935 Crypto Estab
CIO-II None 0 Crypto Estab
AR-IV None 0 Crypto Estab
N070 Damariscotta River 0 Def Estab
G060 Sarasota Bay 1973 Def Estab
M026 _CDA_M026 (Pawcatuck-Wood) 1948 Def Estab
G260 Galveston Bay 0 Def Estab
SP-XXI None 2013 Def Unk
PAN_CAR Panama Caribbean Coast 1960 Def Unk
CAR-II None 1987 Def Unk
NA-S2 None 0 Def Unk
EAS-VIII None 0 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude
27710 Cohen and Carlton, 1995 1919 1919-01-01 Antioch, Suisun Bay Def 38.0713 -122.0581
30344 Cohen and Carlton, 1995 1913 1913-01-01 Dumbarton Bridge Def 37.5457 -122.1645
30445 Cohen and Carlton, 1995 1921 1921-01-01 San Pablo Bau Def 38.0666 -122.3833
32843 Carlton 1979; Cohen and Carlton, 1995 1913 1913-01-01 Mare Island, San Pablo Bay - Def 38.1011 -122.2668
33380 Cohen and Carlton, 1995 1920 1920-01-01 Carquinez Strait Def 38.0633 -122.1561
33381 Cohen and Carlton, 1995 1919 1919-01-01 Port Chicago Def 38.0461 -122.0208
33594 Cohen, et al. 2005 (SF Bay Area RAS) 2004 2004-05-23 Brisbane Lagoon, San Francisco Bay Def 37.6862 -122.3906


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