Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Worm food

It was feeding time in the aquarium again. I dropped in the usual Crab Cuisine pellets, about one per hermit crab. (One is too much for a tiny hermit, but the big guys collect two or three each.) As always, there was great excitement, as crabs and hermits and the one remaining shrimp raced around, trying to get to the table first. But when they'd all retired with their goodies to their preferred eating spots, one pellet had been missed, right up against the glass. And then the 15-scale scaleworm slid timidly out of hiding, tracking down that delicious scent of fish and corn.

Scale worm. Belly view; the edge  of some scales on his back are just barely visible.

Licking his lips already

"Look what I found! Oh, this looks good!"

These worms eat by everting their jaw some distance beyond the face, and biting down. I've watched them many times, but never actually seen the everted jaw. It all happens in a split second; the worm is there, looking at the food from a short distance away, then there's a moment of blur, and then all is as before, except that the food has moved.

This time, with the worm and his lunch so close to the glass, I set the camera down, focussed on the pellet, and tried to catch the action. The worm was biting at the edges of the pellet; it was too big for him to swallow. After each bite, he'd back off, rest a minute, and then, - snap! - take another bite.

Mostly, by the time my finger pressed the camera shutter, it was all over. I tried anticipating his moves, and finally got one blurry view of that speeding jaw.


A few more bites, and the worm retreated into his seaweed hidey hole, leaving the rest of the pellet for midnight snackers.


  1. When "getting the shot" is more important than picture quality, I often put the camera in video mode, then capture the still afterwards. That is, assuming the burst mode of the camera isn't sufficient.

  2. Maybe an auto mode that takes a series of shots. I think my camera has something like that but I don't know how to use it. - Margy

  3. I always forget to set it into burst mode until the opportunity has passed. :(


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