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  1. Galeo1_amber-louise_burberry Colony of calcium carbonate tubes around worms by AL Burberry
  2. Galeo3_amber-louise_burberry Tubes 20-30mm by AL Burberry

Galeolaria worm

Galeolaria caespitosa


  • Galeolaria are a colonial species of polychaete worms. They build white to light grey calcium carbonate (shell –like) tubes around their soft bodies, creating a distinctive tangled mass of tubes, which resembles short spaghetti.
  • Size:  20-30mm

What to Observe

Search area for 30 minutes and record under the following categories:

  • Abundant - found easily with little searching
  • Frequent - found with minimal searching
  • Rare - only 1 or 2 individuals found with intensive searching
  • Not found - not present during search

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

Galeolaria worms are under increasing stress due to ocean acidification which can weaken their calcium carbonate shells and reduce body condition. This makes them more prone to disease, predation and low reproduction. Increasing water temperature as a result of climate change will likely affect their abundance and cause a southward shift in their distribution.

When To Look

Throughout the year

Where To Look

  • Common on rocky shores, from mid to low tide levels. Usually found in rock pools and water filled crevices, but can also be found attached to the shells of molluscs.
  • Perth WA, SA, TAS, VIC, NSW up to Hervey Bay QLD. 


Davey, K. (1998). A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. New Holland Publishers Australia Pty Ltd.

Edger, GJ. (2008). Australian Marine Life. The Plants and Animals of Temperate Waters [2nd Ed]. New Holland Publishers Australia Pty Ltd.



  1. Search Species

  1. What Else?

    From a distance Galeolaria worm may look like barnacles due to their similar encrusting form and creamy-white colour.  However, Galeolaria worms form distinct tubes as opposed to barnacles which form small round or pyramid-like structures.

  1. Did You Know?

    Like molluscs, Galeolaria worms have an operculum (shell door) that close off the entrance to their tubes.