shipworm

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shipworm

any marine bivalve mollusc such as Teredo, that bores into woodwork by rotary action of the two shell valves and swallows the sawdust, which is then attacked by special enzymes that make possible the digestion of cellulose.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005
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(1993) point out that, in larval shells of similar size, the shoulders of Teredo navalis (Fig.
(18.) Peter Paalvast and Gerard Van Der Wald, 'New Threats of an Old Enemy: the Distribution of the Shipworm Teredo navalis L.
did so eat the timbers as that we greatly feared they would undoe us by gnawing through the ships side." (36) Presumably, Davis conflates two kinds of verminous threats: the dreaded shipworm, teredo navalis (actually a species of vermiform clam) that destroyed wood, and larvae from various insects that devastated food stores.
Nearby, a legend reads 'jn hoc cholfo corabaru nascu[ntur] cierti [?] vermes que perforant navigie', which translates as 'in this gulf Corabaru worms are born which bore through ships'--a reference to the shipworm Teredo navalis. Columbus did, indeed, have problems with shipworms on his fourth voyage.
Its hull was made of oak,and to protect it from shipworm,or teredo navalis, which burrows into timber, it was completely sheathed below the waterline in copper.