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Abarenicola pacifica Healy & Wells, 1959
Pacific Lugworm
Family: Arenicolidae


© Les Leighton     (Photo ID #11733)


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Distribution of Abarenicola pacifica in British Columbia in British Columbia


The Pacific or common lugworm species in British Columbia is Abarenicola pacifica. Its name apparently derives from a German/Dutch "lug/log" meaning "slow, heavy, clumsy", perhaps referring to its clumpy appearance and quiescent behaviour after being dug up. It spends its life in a U-shaped burrow in sand/mud flats feeding from the front end of its burrow where it creates a shallow "puddled" depression in the sand, and defecating from the back end of its burrow to form characteristically ropey, fecal deposits. Densities in a population may reach over 1000 individuals per square meter, and consequently bioturbation effects may be great. In fact, by regularly turning over deeper sediments that are often anaerobic (smelling of hydrogen sulphide/rotten eggs), lugworms and other similar bioturbating worms increase the health of the sediments for other infaunal organisms. Research on lugworms has focussed on bioturbation and feeding, and comparatively little is known about their ecological interactions. For more on lugworms see A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY: LEARN ABOUT LUGWORMS & RELATIVES.

Note Author: Tom Carefoot, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

General References