Creatures from dreams and nightmares are here. They are real and they are unbelievably beautiful.
From the depths of the cold White Sea to the coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Some of them were collected recently and they are still undescribed! They’re only a drop in the whole diversity of polychaetes.
Each body segment of a polychaete worm has a pair of fleshy protrusions called parapodia that bear many bristles, called chaetae, which are made of chitin. Polychaetes are sometimes referred to as bristle worms. [WP]
…a species of tube-building serpulid polychaete worm that is widely distributed throughout tropical oceans worldwide, ranging from the Caribbean to the Indo-Pacific. S. giganteus commonly inhabit the heads of corals and like other serpulids it secrets a calcareous tube around its body which serves as its home and protection. Like other tube-building worms S. giganteus is a filter feed and will use its two brightly colored ‘Christmas trees’ [which are specialized mouth appendages laced with feather-like tentacles called radioles] to filter microorganisms from the water, which are transferred straight into its digestive tract. They are also used in respiration.
This creature may seem like a caterpillar, but it is a marine polychaete annelid, which has no relation to the Lepidoptera. It belongs to the genus Chloeia in the Family Amphinomidae.
Amphinoids are also known as “fireworms” and they are unusual, compared to other polychaetes, in having such features as calcified setae. Setae are bristle- or hair-like structures on every segment of their bodies.
Fireworms mainly live in the sea; they have been responsible for ‘bristleworm stingings’ and their large setae are reputed to be filled with toxin.
However, an examination of the setae and parapodia of Eurythoe complanata, Chloeia flava and Pherecardia striata using histological and scanning electron microscope techniques, showed no evidence for hypothesized toxin-producing glands communicating with the parapodial setae. Setae were hollow, but empty. It is suggested that these polychaetes are urticating rather than toxic.
…a species of Megascolecid earthworm that is native to Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, New Guinea and surrounding islands. true to its name P. darnleiensis can grow quite large and can grow to around 70 cm (27 in) long. Like smaller earthworms P. darnleiensis burrows underground and likely feeds on organic waste. P. darnleiensis is one of the main prey items of the Kinabalu Giant Red Leech (Mimobdella buettikofen).
An aggregate of methane ice worms (Hesiocaeca methanicola) that inhabit in methane hydrate ice. Studies suggest that these worms eats chemotrophic autotroph bacteria living near the chemicals in the hydrate
NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition.
Bispira is a genus of tube-dwelling polychaete worms belonging to the family Sabellidae. It lives mainly on rocky substrata and reaches a length of up to 10cm.
Like other sabellid worms, gas exchange is through a crown of tentacles that also serve as a filtration-feeding system. The worm has no mobility outside the confines of the tube, and the filtration mechanism is susceptible to clogging if excessive suspended solids are present [source].
Taxonomy: Animalia, Annelida, Myzostomida, Myzostomatidae, Myzostoma,
M. cirrifeum are short, squat annelids
with translucent bodies and prominent marginal cirri. Their parapodia have
evolved into small gripping appendages, with hooks for attaching themselves to their hosts. These polychaetes only reach a few mm
Alongside all other myzostomids, M.
cirrifeum is an obligate parasite of echinoderms. This species in
particular is found on the crinoid Antedon
bifida, which are found on the coasts of north-western Europe. After birth,
the larval worm is taken by the crinoid as if it were a food particle, where
they attach themselves to the host’s podia. From there, they attach to the
abulacral grooves, where they form a cyst-like structure for protection. Males
and hermaphoriditic individuals more around on the host crinoids
Also known as the European Fanworm or Pencil Worm, the Mediterranean Fanworm is a species of feather duster worm (Sabellidae) that is native to shallow waters in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea, extended from the United Kingdom and Ireland, through France, Spain and Portugal to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. It has also been accidentally been introduced to various other parts of the world. Like other “feather duster worms”, the Mediterranean fanworm is a filter feeder, feeding on bacteria, zooplankton, phytoplankton, and various other organic matter. These food items are collected in its “fan” and brought down towards the mouth. Sabella spallazanii gets its species name in commemoration of the Italian biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani.
Hermodice carunculata (Amphinomida - Amphinomidae) is a marine bristle-worm widespread and abundant infound in reef habitats throughout the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the South American and African Atlantic coasts, and the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
Bearded fireworms are often strikingly beautiful and very colorful, usually between 5-10 centimeters in length, but can reach up to 35 centimeters. On both sides they are endowed with a group of poisonous white bristles that flare out when the worm is disturbed. 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. The sting can also lead to nausea and dizziness. This sensation lasts up to a few hours, but a painful tingling can continue to be felt around the area of contact.
They are facultative corallivores, and their destructive feeding behavior is known to stunt the growth of the hydrocoral Millepora complanata in the Caribbean Sea, and in the Mediterranean Sea, Hermodice carunculata acts as a winter reservoir and possibly a vector for the coral-bleaching pathogen Vibrio shiloi.