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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Magnificent Feather Duster Sabellastarte magnifica

The only part of this worm that is normally visible is a beautiful fan of feathery tentacles. The worm’s segmented body is hidden inside a soft, flexible tube that it builds tucked beneath rocks or in a coral crevice or buried in sand. The tentacles are in two whorls and are usually banded brown and white. They are normally extended into the water to filter out plankton, but at the slightest vibration or disturbance, such as the exhalation of a scuba diver, the worm instantly retracts the tentacles down into the safety of the tube.

Magnificent Feather Dusterzoom image
  • Class Polychaeta
  • Length Up to 6 in (15 cm)
  • Depth 3–65 ft (1–20 m)
  • Habitat Coral reefs
  • Distribution Shallow waters of the western Atlantic and Caribbean
Magnificent Feather Duster habitat mapzoom image