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Worm?


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#1 brookmathews

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 03:15 AM

I shot this at Jervis Bay, SE Australia earlier this year. Anybody know what it is? The hole is about 10 mm in diameter.

Brook

#2 james

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 08:49 AM

That is a bobbit worm, aka Eunicid polychaete

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#3 Leslie

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 04:09 PM

Nice picture! As James said, it's in the family Eunicidae, most likely in the genus Eunice. I'd have to have the specimen & check out the bristles, arrangement of gills (the fluffy-looking bits inside the tube), the jaws, & some other characters to really know the genus & species.
I'd love to have a higher resolution file if you wouldn't mind. I'm curious as to how many different species get lumped under the common name "bobbit worm".
Thanks, Leslie

#4 segal3

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 04:13 PM

If that hole is only 1cm in diameter...that's a mighty small bobbit worm...
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#5 Dave H

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 04:37 PM

Here's another pic of it, at night this species can often be seen out feeding and attacking suspended particles!

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http://www.scuba-equ...Eunice_sp).html

#6 Leslie

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 04:40 PM

Bobbit is just a common name for the big eunicids seen by divers. 99% of all eunicids are much smaller as adults. The one Brook photographed could be either an adult of a small species or a juvenile of one of the large ones. For a really big one (although preserved) check out the article at
http://www.nhm.org/r...learn_more.html
For head shots of live small ones go to http://www.nhm.org/g...rv/worm-g04.htm
Cheers, Leslie

#7 segal3

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 04:44 PM

Saw some of the site - realized you were at the LA NHM...I'm at USC right now, I'll be sure to send over any images of polychaetes that I end up taking in the future :D
Matt Segal - carbonos scuba

#8 Leslie

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 04:53 PM

Hi Dave --
You and Brook have different species, maybe even different genera. The color patterns are very different, and note the area at the base of the long head appendages.... in your critter there's just one thin ring while in Brook's there's multiple rings. The tubes are different too, and that's another species-level character.

Matt -- Hey neightbor! USC, huh...you must be pretty happy with the Trojans right now. Walk over anytime you want a private tour or help with critters.
:D
Leslie

#9 Leslie

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 12:07 PM

:oops: :oops: :oops:
Now that Brook has sent me a higher resolution file (thanks, Brook!) & I've re-examined the image I'm embarrassed to admit that the worm isn't a bobbit as I said earlier but belongs to the family Onuphidae, genus Diopatra. These guys are called decorator or farmer worms because they attach bits of live algae as well as sticks, shells, etc., to the outside of their tubes. The extra bits add camoflague and attract small animals which the Diopatras may eat, plus the algae itself often serves as food for the worms. There's a nice photo of one showing the spiral gills at http://www2.uol.com....ia/galeri29.htm (click on the photo for an enlargement)
Leslie