Australia's Biodiversity

Spoon Worms (Phylum Annelida)

Spoon worms are soft-bodied, worm-like marine organisms that live in soft sediments on the seafloor in both shallow and deep waters.

For many years spoon worms were classified in their own phylum, the Echiura, separated from the more common and diverse annelid worms because of their unsegmented bodies. However, recent molecular analyses indicate that spoon worms are in fact annelid worms that have lost any trace of segmentation.

A spoon worm in its burrow in an aquarium at the Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory, USA.

 

Only 13 species of spoon worms are known from Australian waters. Given the low global diversity of the group, it's unlikely more will be discovered

To read more about annelids, the group to which spoon worms belongs, go to the Annelid page.

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