christmas tree worm

Fact of the Day: Christmas Tree Worm

Posted Wed, Jul 28, 2010 by MollyH to christmas tree worm, corals, Fact of the Day, filter feeders

Christmas Tree Worms (credit: Nick Hobgood)

The subject of today’s FOTD is the Christmas tree worm, or spirobranchus giganteus for those of you who prefer the scientific name. 

Christmas tree worms are embedded in the surface of corals by the calcareous, shell-like tubes in which they live.  They have two beautiful, feathery spirals (which look like little Christmas trees) that extend into the water column and are used for filter-feeding and breathing. At the slightest disturbance, the Christmas tree worm retracts into its tube in the coral for safety. 

My favorite thing about these worms is their variety of vibrant colors and patterns- check it out!

See you tomorrow for another random FOTD! And if you’re like me and you just can’t wait for more, go to Oceana.org/Explore.   


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