Sunday, March 15, 2015

Paddle-foot

I caught up with a polychaete worm out hunting, right up close to the glass wall. He's made himself a hideout with a rolled-up piece of red seaweed, and slides out tentatively, stretching without ever leaving his shelter completely. At the least disturbance, a hermit treading on the far side of the seaweed, or the shadow of my camera, or the flash, he zips back into the tunnel, so fast my eye can't follow him. But he's out soon, waving his tentacles about until he finds something tasty. Then he snatches it and drags it into his dark dining room. He won't be out again for a while.

Searching, searching ...

Zooming in to see the rows of paddle feet, each with its long spine. This is the underside, so at the head what is visible is the mouth, the stubby palps, and assorted tentacles, good for sniffing out yummy meals.

These worms tie together bits of shell, sand, rotting seaweeds, and anything else they can gather, live or dead, into messy clumps and strings. When I take this hodge-podge out of the water and pull on a shell, it's usually so well glued on that I can't get it off without ripping the whole shebang apart and killing the worm.

Wonderful glue; I wish I could find some that good in the stores!





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