Sunday, May 07, 2017

Just worms. Beautiful worms.

They hide their bright, flowery faces in the deep shadows underneath rocks. When the tide abandons them, they flee. When the water comes back, it pays to kneel in seaweed and peer into their hideaways, cautiously; the slightest disturbance will cause them to retreat into their tubes and slam the doors.

Red trumpet calcareous tubeworms, Serpula columbiana. Taken with flash: it's dark down there.

The worms live in white tubes attached to the rock, curved outward at the head to spread their feeding tentacles. The central circle is a funnel-shaped door, or operculum. It seals the tube when the tide goes out, hiding the brilliant head.

Zooming in. I like the rayed funnel on the one on the right.

The spaghetti worms cannot retract their tentacles, as most tentacled worms do. And they really do look like wet spaghetti dumped in the sand, with a sculpted carrot for a body.

Spaghetti worm, Terrebelid sp.

The white "spaghetti" are feeding tentacles. Just beneath them, some of the red gills are visible here. The worms build themselves a soft mud tube, but are not always protected by it. In this photo, only the tail of the worm remains in the tube.

The polychaete worm is not as spectacular as its cousins, but viewed closely, has lovely, shimmery colours, blue, green, pink, and sometimes red.

Zooming in to display the iridescence.

1 comment:

  1. The tentacled worms are really pretty. Love the pink colour. - Margy


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