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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

King Ragworm Neanthes virens

The king ragworm is a large worm that has strong jaws that are easily capable of delivering a painful bite to a human. The jaws are pushed out on an eversible proboscis and are used for pulling food into its mouth as well as for defending itself. The king ragworm lives in a mucus-lined burrow in the sand, and waits for the tide to come in before coming out to feed. It swims well by bending its long body into a series of S-shaped curves. Fishermen collect king ragworms for bait.

King Ragwormzoom image
  • Class Polychaeta
  • Length Up to 20 in (50 cm)
  • Depth Shore and shallows
  • Habitat Muddy sand
  • Distribution Temperate coastal waters of northeastern and northwestern Atlantic
King Ragworm habitat mapzoom image