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Feather-Duster Worm

Sabellastarte spectabilis


Marine tube worm of indeterminable length with white and purple tentacles 3-4 mm long.


Near shore shallow tropical waters; coral reef ecosystem.


Spotted at low tide in 100-150 mm of water in a depression in the reef flat south of Mokauea Island, off the south shore of Oahu. Feather duster worms are filter feeders which capture current-borne plankton with their tentacles.

1 Species ID Suggestions

SargonR 5 years ago
Feather-Duster Worm
Sabellastarte spectabilis Sabellastarte spectabilis

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Allen Hoof
Allen Hoof 5 years ago

Sargon: Thanks for the kind words. Future marine life spottings are likely to be from shallow water or an uncovered reef--unless I dredge up something from my collection that I've so far overlooked. Why? After 2100+ dives, I stopped diving over ten years ago. Not planned, just happened.

In addition to the Stenders' site, I also came across another excellent resource when chasing down sea slug IDs.

I've exchanged e-mail in a couple of cases with one of the site's co-authors, Cory Pittman. He was most helpful.

SargonR 5 years ago

Yes, the Stenders site is a great one. I always try to give them some advertisement when I can, since it is in large part what inspired me to start my own extensive collection of Marine Life photos. I never found as many as they did, but did get over 200 unique species during the 5 years I lived in Hawaii. Any way, great photos, I look forward to seeing more!

Allen Hoof
Allen Hoof 5 years ago

Thanks Sargon. Given the variability of tentacle coloration shown in images online, I've decided to go with S. spectabilis rather than the more general Sabellastarte sp.

Thanks for suggesting marinelifephotography. I'm aware of the Stenders' website, and have found it a useful resource on many occasions.

SargonR 5 years ago

These are very comon in Mamala Bay (Pearl Harbor) as well as Kaneohe Bay areas of Oahu. Not sure if more than one species exist in HAwaii, but I will give you the one listed in my books, the one I used for my Feather-Duster Worm sightings. Also, if you ever add more fish/marine life from Hawaii, this is a good resource:

Allen Hoof
Spotted by
Allen Hoof

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Spotted on Jun 6, 2015
Submitted on Jun 7, 2015

Spotted for Mission

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