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Old 19-06-2019, 05:14   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Moreton Bay
Boat: US$4,550 of lead under a GRP hull with cutter rig
Posts: 2,009
Shipworm chews limestone rock. Is polyester or epoxy next?

I've a teak trim tab to my rudder. Found two small shipworms (teredoes), not deterred by the antifouling, in it. Then I encased in the trim tab in epoxy. No problem since.

Today (19 June 2019), in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Reuben Shipway and colleagues report finding a new species of teredo or shipworm. Found in a freshwater river on Bohol island in The Philippines.

The unique bit being that no individual of this species was found doing what teredoes normally do: boring through timber with commensal gut bacteria digesting the cellulose and lignin and sharing the food with the shipworm.

This newly discovered and named species, Lithoredo abatanica (the rock-teredo of the Abatan River), does in its natural habitat and also in freshwater aquaria the incredible job of boring through limestone rock (and defecating limestone sand).

How the beastie is getting food energy is not yet clear. Guesses to date include that it might really be relying on algae that it filters from the water using its gills. And perhaps the teredo is using the limestone sand in a way similar to the grit in the crop of a bird: to grind and crush algae such as diatoms that live in their own tough silica cell wall.

Take a Captain Cook for yourself:

Shipway and colleagues' academic paper (a simple HTML page):

Veronique Greenwood's story in the NY Times (with pretty pictures that otherwise are hidden in supplementary materials of the academic paper):

Any cruiser with a ferrocement hull around Bohol that would like to test their hull?
“Fools say that you can only gain experience at your own expense, but I have always contrived to gain my experience at the expense of others.” - Otto von Bismarck
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