Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Phoronida

Family: Phoronidae

Genus: Phoronis

Species: P. australis


These are worms are unsegmented worms belonging to Phylum Phoronida. This is a small phylum with less than 20 species. They build and live inside tubes made of chitin. Phoronis australis is thus far, the only phoronid known to be encountered with cerianthids and it is found in all warm temperate to tropical coasts from the intertidal to deeper waters. Phoronis australis has a pair of feathery spiralling tentacles (diameter about 2cm). The body is long, unsegemented and worm-like. Those seen on our shores are grey or pinkish black, but elsewhere white ones are also seen. Most phoronids build a tube that is made of chitin (the same substance that insect skeletons are made of). Phoronids are filter feeders, creating a current of water through their spiral of tentatcles. Edible bits are trapped in mucus on the tentacles. Phoronis australis is a hermaphrodite.

Some phoronids can reproduce by budding or splitting into half. They also reproduce by producing eggs and sperm. It is believed that the lifespan of phoronids is only about one year.