The Poole Harbour merman. I’ve been unable to find any
decent royalty-free images of the blacktip shipworm – please
point us to any you know!
An old carving found off Poole Harbour by Bournemouth University archaeologists has been attacked by a warm-water ship worm that could threaten boats, archaeological sites and wooden structures around the UK.
The carving of a merman in the Swash Channel near the entrance to the Harbour is said to be an important find, but the discovery of the warm-water ship worm Lyrodus pedicellatus or blacktip shipworm in both the carving and in timbers of the wreck could be rather more significant.
‘The presence of this type of borer can be interpreted as an indication of global warming, as it typically lives in more temperate waters, such as the Mediterranean,’ said one of the academics, Paulo Palma.
‘If this species of ship worm continues to spread at its current pace it poses a major threat to all submerged wooden structures around the British coast including jetties and piers, as well as to our underwater heritage.’
It seems pretty sure that this creature eats wood, it’ll attack many of our most important old boats too.
Undergraduate marine archaeology students from BU have spent the last three summers mapping the Swash Channel wreck which emerged in 2004 following dredging work. The wreck is believed to date from the early 1600s, although its exact country of origin remains unknown.
Click on the link to see Bournemouth University’s announcement.