Organisms that live on other creatures and inanimate objects are known as epibionts. Epibionts include various kinds of marine worms. Some worms attach to objects like seashells, while the mollusc is still alive and also when the shell is empty, by means of the tube in which they live. These tubes are made of diverse materials such as sand grains, shell fragments, or particles of mud stuck together with mucus or other secretions. Other tubes are manufactured entirely by the worm – such as the calcareous or chalky tubes shown here on an oyster shell (Ostrea edulis Linnaeus). The tube shapes are characteristic for different species of worm. The tubes illustrated here have been made by worms like Pomatoceros spp.
For more information about calcareous tubes on modern and archaeological oyster shells click on:
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