polycheate

Bearded Fireworm (Hermodice carunculata)

…a species of Amphinomid polychaete worm that occurs throughout the tropical western Atlantic, and the Ascension Island in the mid-Atlantic. They are also known from the Mediterranean Sea and in coastal waters surrounding Cyprus and the Maltese archipelago. Bearded fireworms are commonly encountered in rocky reefs, and occasionally on muddy bottoms. They are voracious predators on soft and hard corals as well as other cnidarians.  When disturbed by predators (or humans) the bearded fireworm uses stinging bristles located along its body to deter attackers. 

Classification

Animalia-Annelida-Polychaeta-Aciculata-Amphinomidae-Hermodice-H. carunculata

Image: C-Ack

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The segmented structure of the sea mouse (Aphrodita aculeata), a kind of polycheate worm, can be seen only if it is turned over because its back is disguised by a thick felt of hairs that mask its segments. Running along each side of its body are numerous stiff, black bristles and a fringe of beautiful, iridescent hairs that glow green, blue, or yellow. The bristles can cause severe irritation if they puncture the skin. The sea mouse is so called because it looks like a bedraggled mouse when washed up dead on the shore.

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