Read, G. B.; Inglis, G.; Stratford, P.; Ahyong, S. T. (2011). Arrival of the alien fanworm Sabella spallanzanii (Gmelin, 1791) (Polychaeta: Sabellidae) in two New Zealand harbours. Aquatic Invasions. 6(3): 273-279.
The distinctive Mediterranean-Atlantic fanworm polychaete, Sabella spallanzanii (Gmelin, 1791), is recorded from New Zealand, in both North and South Island, consequent upon its discovery first in the port area of Lyttelton in Lyttelton Harbour and later 800 km further north in the port area of Auckland in Waitemata Harbour. Morphology distinguishing the species from other sabellids is highlighted. In the initial occurrence in March 2008 one large specimen was identified from samples taken by a surveillance team off subtidal wharf structures in Lyttelton port. In July and August 2008 further large specimens were found both nearby and dispersed across the inner port area, with reproductive maturity appearing imminent in some. The New Zealand Government funded repeated search and culling by divers, directed towards possible local elimination, with over 380 specimens removed from Lyttelton by December 2009. However, in August 2009 a single large specimen was found in an enclosed port area in Waitemata Harbour, then several more, and in October 2009 numerous specimens were found on a barge hull berthed there. Also it became apparent that a second generation of colonisers was present in both harbours. By early 2010 well-grown specimens had been found in disparate Waitemata Harbour locations over a large area. The decision to suspend culls was made in February 2010, and elimination efforts were abandoned in June 2010, two years after first detection. The arrival and apparent establishment of S. spallanzanii in New Zealand is ascribed to accidental international transfer probably in 2007, either via hull fouling or ballast water, but it is not known if the two ports were colonised via the same transiting vessel.