Monday, July 09, 2012

Ice cream worm

For years, I've been seeing lugworm poop on our beaches; I've dug down below the mounds often, the last time about a foot down. I've never seen a lugworm, except in books. Until this afternoon.

At the top of the intertidal zone, by the boat ramp at Beach Grove, I turned over one of the broken paving stones, and there was my first lugworm. So easy!

Neapolitan lugworm, Abarenicola pacifica. The head is partially hidden in the sand ; it's trying to escape the light.

Here it is, clean, digging in. Plus an unidentified worm, probably a ribbon worm, also burrowing out of sight.

The head end is greenish, the mid-section pink, and the long, thinner tail end is, at first glance, a creamy colour; this may have inspired the name, "Neapolitan"; it reminded someone of three-layer ice cream. I see the tail as more green and yellow, with a pink stripe down mid-back.

Along the sides of the mid-section are the bright red gills, just visible in this photo, half-buried in the sand as it is.

With the sand washed off, this is a beautiful worm. 

Lugworm castings, further down the beach.

I never thought of turning the paving stones before. Of four that I flipped this afternoon, two had surprises. Tomorrow, I'll post photos of the second.


  1. mmmmm, ice cream worm

  2. They look more like gummy worms ..


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