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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Green Paddle Worm Eulalia viridis

Although this beautiful green worm is usually found crawling over rocks, it can also swim well. The name paddle worm comes from the large, leaf-shaped appendages called parapodia that are attached to the side of each body segment and aid in swimming. The green paddle worm's head has two pairs of stout tentacles on each side, a single tentacle on top, and four short, forward-pointing tentacles at the front. These tentacles and two simple black eyes help the green paddle worm in its hunt for food. The green paddle worm is attracted to dead animals, especially mussels and barnacles, but will also hunt for live prey. However, unlike the king ragworm, it does not have jaws to tackle large prey. Instead, carrion and debris sticks to the green paddle worm's proboscis and is wiped off inside the mouth.

During spring, the green paddle worm lays gelatinous green egg masses about the size of a marble on the shore and in shallow water, attaching them to seaweeds and rocks.

Green Paddle Worm habitat mapzoom image
  • Class Polychaeta
  • Length Up to 6 in (15 cm)
  • Depth Shore and shallows
  • Habitat Rocky areas under stones, in crevices
  • Distribution Temperate coastal waters of northeastern Atlantic