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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Type Material

Sipunculus titubans type is located at Museum für Naturkunde, Humboldt-Universtät, in Berlin, under the number MNHU 1036.

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Type Locality

The original description by Linnaeus (1766) of S. nudus reported the type locality as the European ocean. Nevertheless in the revision of the genus Sipunculus, Cutler & Cutler (1985) refers only to the type of S. titubans, a species considered by them as conspecific with S. nudus. This type specimen was collected in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

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General Description

Sipunculus nudus is considered a cosmopolitan species found in all oceans from intertidal zones to 900 m depth. It is the most known species in this genus. Common and easily collected along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Europe, it has been studied for many decades by developmental biologists, physiologists, and biochemists (Cutler, 1994). The surface of the trunk of species in this genus has a checked appearance resulting from the intersection of the longitudinal and circular muscles, and has an iridescent pink or sepia color (live specimens).

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Distribution

cosmopolitan
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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This is a cosmopolitan species found in all oceans from intertidal zone to 30 m. There are a few records from 100-900 m (Cutler, 1994).

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Physical Description

Morphology

(From Stephen & Edmonds, 1972; Ditadi, 1982 and Cutler, 1994)

External anatomy

Introvert shorter than the trunk. Triangular papillae (scale-like) posteriorly directed covering the surface of the introvert.

The trunk is cylindrical measuring 184 ± 53 mm of length. Trunk diameter/length ratio averages 1:16. The surface of the trunk is cut into a large number of small rectangles by the intersection of the longitudinal and circular muscles.

Glans region (a smooth posterior tip) present on the posterior end of the trunk.

Tentacular crown in live specimens consists of two pairs of pinnate tentacles, with dorsal pair longer than the ventral pair. Preserved specimens present a highly wrinkled membrane. The body of adult live worms has an iridescent pink or sepia color, and the younger ones a whitish color.

Internal anatomy

24-34 longitudinal muscles bands (LMBS), more commonly 28-32. The LMBs usually split in the glans region.

Circular muscles divided in narrow bands.

A pair of nephridia partially attached (10-40%) to the trunk wall.

The brain is bilobed, width greater than length, with a dorsal brain process, which is digitate or a spongelike mass.

Two pairs of short retractor muscles arise at the same level. According to Stephen & Edmonds (1972) the ventral pair usually spreads over the 2-5 bands and the dorsal over 9-12.

Spindle muscle arises anterior to the anus, attached to the rectal caecum and is not attached to the posterior end of the trunk.

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Size

A common size of S. nudus is between 5-15 cm long (Cutler, 1994). Brazilian specimens of S. nudus can reach 20 cm of length (Ditadi, 1982).

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Ecology

Habitat

intertidal to slope
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
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Habitat and Ecology

(From Ditadi, 1982)

This species lives in muddy or sandy beaches in non-permanent galleries at a mean depth of 30 cm. The gallery entrances are marked by one, two or sometimes three openings. Specimens recently collected in Fort Pierce, Florida, was found in a sand flat, in an exposed intertidal zone, during low tide (Kawauchi, personal observation).

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Depth range based on 1 specimen in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 61 - 61
  Temperature range (°C): 18.121 - 18.121
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.169 - 0.169
  Salinity (PPS): 35.618 - 35.618
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.423 - 5.423
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.282 - 0.282
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.132 - 2.132
 
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Depth range based on 40 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 21 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 1500
  Temperature range (°C): 8.933 - 24.323
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.501 - 9.117
  Salinity (PPS): 35.148 - 38.362
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.519 - 6.478
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.031 - 0.649
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 7.198

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 1500

Temperature range (°C): 8.933 - 24.323

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.501 - 9.117

Salinity (PPS): 35.148 - 38.362

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.519 - 6.478

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.031 - 0.649

Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 7.198
 
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Associations

There are three species of copepods from the genus Myzomolgus associated with Sipunculus nudus. Myzomolgus stupendus and M. tenuis were found in Channel, coast of France (Bocquet & Stock, 1957) and in Korea (Kim, 2001). In Brazil, another species of Myzomolgus (M. sipunculensis) was described associated with S. nudus and S. phalloides.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sipunculus nudus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 31
Specimens with Barcodes: 31
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Sipunculus nudus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 22 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACACTATACTTTATCCTAGGGGTCTGATCAGGCCTACTAGGAACATCTATA---AGGCTTCTCATCCGAGCAGAACTAGGACAGCCTGGAGCCTTGCTCGGAAAT---GATCATCTATACAACGTTCTAGTAACCGCTCATGCATTCCTCATAATTTTCTTCCTAGTAATACCAGTTCTTATCGGAGGATTTGGAAACTGATTGATCCCACTAATA---CTCGGAAGACCAGATATAGCCTTCCCACGACTCAACAATATGAGCTTTTGACTACTACCGCCAGCTTTAATCCTACTAGTCGCCTCTGCGGCAACAGAGAAGGGAGTAGGAGCAGGATGAACCGTTTACCCTCCTCTTGCTGGGCCCATCGCTCATGCAGGACCTTCAGTTGATCTG---GCTATTTTCTCCTTACACCTTGCTGGTGCAAGATCGATCCTAGGGGCCCTCAACTTTATTACAACAATCATAAATATACGAGGGAAAGGGTTTCAAATAGAACGACTGCCTTTATTTCTCTGAGCTGTATTTATTACTGTAATTATACTTCTCTTAGCTCTTCCCGTTCTTGCCGGC---GCAATCACAATGCTTCTAACAGACCGAAACCTAAACACTTCCTTTTTTGACCCTACAGGAGGAGGAGACCCTATCTTATTC------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

Sipunculans, commonly of the genus Sipunculus, are used by humans in two different ways, as food or as fish bait. In Xiamen in Fujian province of the People’s Republic of China, a seaboard city in the southeast China, there is a special delicacy dish in which the main ingredient consists of sipunculans. The sipunculan worm jelly is prepared with sipunculans from the genus Sipunculus (probably S. nudus). As is the case for some other organisms such as eels, sipunculans form a protein gel when cooked (Food preservation, 2010). The preparation of this typical dish consists of cleaning the sipunculan worm by eliminating the intestine full of sediment, followed by braising in a slow fire, and transferring to cups for cooling. People consume this dish with chili sauce, mustard sauce, and vinegar (Xiamen Travel Information, 2010).

In some countries fishermen use sipunculans as bait. In Brazil the fishermen collect the worms from their burrows by digging in the sediment during a period of low tide .In Europe fishermen may obtain the worms more easily by purchase from a bait machine that provides live worms, including samples of Sipunculus. Popularly known as titas, tatas, bibi, they are imported in large numbers from China or Vietnam to Europe to serve as bait for recreational purposes.

Besides humans, sipunculans are a source of food for many fishes. Among invertebrates there are a few such as gastropods and asteroids that may fed on sipunculans as part of their diet. (Kohn, 1975).

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Wikipedia

Sipunculus nudus

Sipunculus nudus is a species of unsegmented marine worm, also known as peanut worms. The body of the adult worm is around 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in length but can reach up to 25 cm (9.8 in) in some cases.

The worm is commonly found on subtidal zones of sandy shores to seabeds 900 metres (3,000 ft) in depth in temperate or tropical waters. The worm hides in sand burrows which it makes by itself during the day and may extend its tentacles out of the burrow to feed at night. Its diet consists of plant or animal tissue fragments and any surrounding sand it may ingest with it.

Recent research indicates that it is a complex of similar species around the world rather than one species, with at least "five distinct lineages identified by phylogenetic analyses".[1]

Uses[edit]

The species is collected and sold as a model organism for various fields of science, as fish bait, or for human consumption.

In particular, S. nudus is collected, cleaned of its innards, and eaten as a delicacy in parts of southern China such as the provinces of Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi, and Fujian. The worms are local delicacies in Beihai, Guangxi where it is called Běihǎi shāchóng (北海沙虫, lit. "Beihai sandworm") and is cooked through various methods. It is also sold and exported as a dried seafood product. In Xiamen, Fujian the species is called tǔsǔn (土笋, lit. "earth bamboo shoot") and served as an aspic (tǔsǔn dòng, 土笋冻, lit. earth bamboo shoot aspic) in local restaurants.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kawauchi, Gisele Y.; Gonzalo Giribet (November 2013). "Sipunculus nudus Linnaeus, 1766 (Sipuncula): cosmopolitan or a group of pseudo-cryptic species? An integrated molecular and morphological approach". Marine Ecology. early online. doi:10.1111/maec.12104. 
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