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Christmas Tree Worms

Spirobranchus giganteus

Description:

Family Serpulidae. It has a tubular, segmented body lined with chaeta, small appendages that aid the worm's mobility. Because it does not move outside its tube, this worm does not have any specialized appendages for movement or swimming. The worms's most distinct features are two "crowns" shaped like Christmas trees. These are highly modified prostomial palps, which are specialized mouth appendages. Each spiral is composed of feather-like tentacles called radioles, which are heavily ciliated and cause any prey trapped in them to be transported to the worm's mouth. While they are primarily feeding structures, S. giganteus also uses its radioles for respiration; hence, the structures commonly are called "gills."

Habitat:

Spirobranchus giganteus is commonly found embedded in entire heads of massive corals, such as stony corals like Porites and brain corals. They can be found in many parts of the world.

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The MnMs
Spotted by
The MnMs

Dumaguete, Siquijor, Philippines

Spotted on Oct 2, 2012
Submitted on Dec 9, 2012

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