Christmas tree worms

Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus). Wikipedia Commons, Nhobgood Nick Hobgood.

So these lovely creatures are tube-building polychaetes associated with tropical coral reefs.  They’re annelids (not anthozoans) and you can check out their taxonomic hierarchy here.  They can use their radioles (the pretty spirally things) to snag organic particles and phytoplankton from the water column.  Also, these polychaetes can retract extremely quickly when disturbed–see the below video from YouTube.  By the way, if you’re a diver, don’t actually harass these guys…


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