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Blog Tags: Christmas Tree Worm

Holiday Creature Feature: Christmas Tree Worm and Candy Cane Shrimp

The Christmas tree worm is found along coral reefs

Christmas tree worms in the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

Some marine animals don’t have to put any effort into celebrating the holiday season, and instead, celebrate this special time all year long. With the holiday season in full swing, we’re spotlighting two small marine animals that are aptly named for their resemblance to two different holiday symbols: the Christmas tree worm and candy cane shrimp.  


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Fact of the Day: Christmas Tree Worm

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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