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Axiothella rubrocincta (Johnson, 1901)
Red-Banded Bamboo Worm
Family: Maldanidae


© Les Leighton     (Photo ID #13264)


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Distribution of Axiothella rubrocincta in British Columbia in British Columbia


Red-banded Bamboo worms, Axiothella rubrocincta, so named because of the resemblance of their segments to those of a bamboo plant, are relatively large deposit-feeding worms that inhabit U-shaped burrows on sand/mud flats. The back end of the burrow is easily visible because of the mound of coiled feces on the sand surface, but the front end is usually just a shallow, funnel-shaped depression. The depression is caused by the worm sucking up foods such as detritus, protists, and small invertebrates with its muscular proboscis from the surface of the funnel. Perhaps because of its relatively large size, Axiothella is a bit of a bully to other infaunal worms on the sand flat. Research shows that in mixed assemblages, Axiothella dominates other worms by out-muscle-ing them for food, either by butting them aside or biting at them with its powerful proboscis. Also, by having to stretch out further from their burrows to get food, these smaller worms tend to lose their heads more often to fish predators, thus becomiing generally less fit with respect to growth and reproduction. For more information on tube-dwelling life in these polychaetes, 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