Welcome to Sipuncula

Sipuncula are marine invertebrate worms, commonly known as peanut worms or star worms, comprising around 151 recognized species. They are widely distributed throughout the world's oceans from intertidal tropical to cold deep-water habitats. These little-known marine invertebrates are inconspicuous, and often confused with holothurians, echiurans or nemerteans and easily overlooked by inexperienced observers. However sipunculans have few, but peculiar characteristics that separate them easily from the other groups. As infaunal animals, burrowed in sediment or hidden within coral ruble or empty gastropod shells, they are not readily observed or collected.

As with species of many other minor phyla, species descriptions of sipunculans in the older literature often consist of a short paragraph with poor, if any, illustration and many references are not easily accessible. Moreover, there are about five active researchers in the world with systematic expertise in this group. The lack of specialists and the difficulty of access to the specific references, make the identification of these worms a challenge.

With this website we would like to make available scientific knowledge to an audience interested in this little-known marine invertebrate offering descriptions, images and links to relevant literature.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith