Pogonophora (Beard Worms)

Abstract

Pogonophora represents a group of segmented worms living in chitinous tubes, largely restricted to deep‐sea environments such as methane seeps and hydrothermal vents. They are unusual in lacking a mouth and anus as adults, and in having the gut tissue massively expanded and filled with symbiotic bacteria, through which they gain their nutritional requirements.

Keywords: annelida; hydrothermal vents; symbiosis; chemoautotrophic bacteria

Figure 1.

Photograph of a group of Riftia pachyptila at a hydrothermal vent. Note the bright red plume of tentacles extending from their white chitinous tubes. Photo courtesy of Dr C. Young (Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution).

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Further Reading

Bergquist DC, Williams FM and Fisher CR (2000) Longevity record for deep‐sea invertebrate – the growth rate of a marine tubeworm is tailored to different environments. Nature 403: 499–500.

Ivanov AV (1963) Pogonophora. London: Academic Press.

McHugh D (1997) Molecular evidence that echiurans and pogonophorans are derived annelids. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 94: 8006–8009.

Rouse GW and Fauchald K (1995) The articulation of annelids. Zoologica Scripta 24: 269–301.

Southward EC (1999) Development of Perviata and Vestimentifera (Pogonophora). Hydrobiologia 402: 185–202.

Westheide W, McHugh D, Purschke G and Rouse GW (1999) Systematization of the Annelida: different approaches. Hydrobiologia 402: 291–307.

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How to Cite close
Rouse, Greg W(Apr 2001) Pogonophora (Beard Worms). In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001602]