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In the adult, the sexes are separate and cannot be distinguished externally. Young animals, however, are potentially hermaphroditic and pass through alternating und-sexual phases during their development. Details of this may be found in papers by Coe (1936, 1941) and Grave (1942). The species is viviparous, releasing larvae at an advanced veliger stage; certain other related species of shipworms (T. dilitata and Bankia (Xylotria) gouldii), not found in the Woods Hole region, are oviparous.
These animals breed at Woods Hole from the first or second week of May until mid-October. Spawning begins when the water temperature rises above 11 to 12° C. (Grave, 1928).