Friday, February 22, 2013

A friendly face

Meet Mr. Fangs!

Polychaetes always look worried.

This was a polychaete worm that grew from an almost microscopic red hair in the sand of my tank, to a fat, active, foot-long wriggler. He has been relocated to the beach; he's at close to his full size and mating season is coming up soon. Happy hunting, Mr. Fangs!

Actually, those two front projections aren't fangs. They're antennae; the other six projections around his head are tentacles. The front paddles are palps, for handling things. He seems to have four eyes, although I would need a closer photo to be sure.

I found a page that describes these worms beautifully, with a long section on the structures of the head. It includes this diagram, which I found helpful.

Image from Reefkeeping.

Ronald Shimek explains:
This diagram represents the head of a generalized polychaete as viewed from above. I know of no real animal with all of these structures in this pattern. However, there are worms having some of all of the structures illustrated here.


  1. I can't make myself find it beautiful and I'm not sure I'd admire it when it's a foot long . . . well, I might admire it but I doubt I'd like it. None the less, it is fascinating.

  2. He had a good environment to grow up in - maybe he will be stronger than his rivals, and get all the girls...

  3. Judy, And with that handsome face, how could he miss?


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