The first ever fully illustrated guide to Hydroides is out now! This genus of calcareous worms is one of the largest and most ecologically and economically important group of marine invertebrates in the world.

Serpulid polychaetes are a unique and highly specialised group of marine segmented worms that inhabit self-secreted calcium carbonate tubes (hence their common name, “calcareous tubeworms”), attached to hard substrates. Although these animals are found in oceans all around the world, at all depths, one serpulid genus is of special concern and importance to human endeavours. This is the genus Hydroides – and the first ever fully-illustrated book of this global genus has just been released through CSIRO publishing.

Cover image of the newly published book, Hydroides of the world.

Cover image of the newly published book, Hydroides of the world.

Image: Leslie Harris
© CRC Press

The genus includes notorious biofoulers and common bioinvaders that travel around the world hitchhiking on ship hulls ("biofouling" is when unwanted organisms attach and grow on submerged objects. This has major economic impact due to the costs associated with removal of the tubes from ship hulls and other structures, such as floating oil rigs and water intake pumps of power stations and aquaculture facilities, as well as lost revenue from fouled commercial molluscs.

The genus currently includes over 100 recognised species. According to recent studies, currently 28 species of Hydroides are found in Australia, but this number is likely to grow both as a result of new species discoveries and due to new bio-invasions by non-native species. Reliable identification tools are needed for end-users to distinguish known and cryptic Australian tubeworms from potential alien invaders that constantly arrive from overseas and threaten Australia's maritime transport, trade, and mariculture.

For the first time, this book provides comprehensive world-wide coverage of all species. The publication includes detailed information on morphology, life history, ecological and economic impacts, phylogeny, and biogeography, as well as methods of collecting and identifications of species within the Hydroides genus. The taxonomic key includes all species, illustrated with high quality original micrographs and supplemented with information of their bioinvasion and fouling status.

If you are curious, this book is for you! Whether you are an invertebrate zoologist, marine ecologist, student, oceanographer, fisheries biologist, aquaculture manager, a naturalist or simply have an interest in the marine environment, this book is for you.

Dr Elena Kupriyanova, Senior Research Scientist, Marine Invertebrates, Australian Museum.

More information:

  • Kupriyanova, E.K., Sun, Y., Wong, E., ten Hove H.A. 2023. Hydroides of the world. CSIRO Publishing, Clayton South, Vic, Australia. ISBN: 781486311583.
  • Sun, Y., Wong, E., ten Hove H.A, Hutchings P.A., Williamson, J. & Kupriyanova, E.K. 2015. Revision of the genus Hydroides (Serpulidae, Annelida) from Australia. Zootaxa 4009: 1-99.
  • Kupriyanova, E. K., Sun, Y., ten Hove, H.A., Wong, E. & Rouse, G.W. 2015. Serpulidae (Annelida) of Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia. Zootaxa Special Issue 4019: 275–353.
  • Sun, Y. Wong, E., Williamson, J E., Hutchings, P A. Ahyong S. T. & Kupriyanova E.K. 2018. Barcoding and multi-gene based phylogeny and biogeography of the globally distributed calcareous tubeworm genus Hydroides Gunnerus, 1768 (Annelida, Serpulidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 127: 732–745.
  • Kupriyanova, E. & Sun, Y. 2015. The Australian Museum Research Institute gets a worm! Australian Museum blog.


This Hydroides research was supported by Australian Biological Resource Study (ABRS) National Taxonomy Research Grant Program Grants RF213-19 and RG18-21. Yanan Sun’s PhD studies were supported by Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarships (MQRES) and Macquarie University Postgraduate Research Fund (PGRF).