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Any of approximately 65 species (family Teredidae) of common marine bivalves that can severely damage wooden structures, including ship hulls and wharves. Its anterior end is covered by a shell; the rest is a tubelike structure, sometimes up to 6 ft (1.8 m) long. File-like ridges on its white shell cut into wood at 8–12 rasping motions a minute. It secretes lime to line its burrow, and its tubelike portion extends back to the burrow opening. It ingests food particles and oxygen from the water; some wood is also ingested as food.
Variants of SHIPWORM
shipworm or pileworm
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on shipworm, visit Britannica.com.