Ships worm

More about ship worms

Bores with its shell

Ship worm in its tunnel.

The ships worm is a mussel with a worm-like body, where only a minimal part of the body is covered by a shell. The wood protects the worm from predatory attack. The shell is used to bore circular tunnels. To bore effectively, the worm has to lie firmly in its tunnel. This is accomplished by pressing its body firmly against the tunnel walls while the notched shell is effectively rasped against the wood. To simplify its work, it is an advantage if the wood is thoroughly wet and already damaged by micro-organisms.
    Ships worms rarely bore into each others tunnels, or out through the surface of the wood. Because of this, ship worms can, without being noticed, cause great damage on wooden structures like boats and piles if preventive measures are not taken, e.g. poisonous paints.

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