Hermodice carunculata | ©João Pedro Silva (Biscoito Bravo, Azores, Portugal)
Bearded fireworms, Hermodice carunculata, are a type of bristleworm of the fireworm Family Amphinomidae. These beautiful flattened segmented worms, reaching 35.6 cm (typically 7-10 cm) in length, with groups of white bristles along each side. The bristles are hollow, venom-filled chaeta which easily penetrate flesh and then break off if this worm is handled. They produce an intense burning irritation in the area of contact, hence the common name of the species. When disturbed, the worm flares out the bristles so they are more exposed.
Bearded fireworms are found throughout the tropical western Atlantic and at Ascension Island in the mid-Atlantic.
Animalia - Annelida - Polychaeta - Amphinomida - Amphinomidae - Hermodice - H. carunculata