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Nick Hope

Is this a worm swimming into a spawning anemone?

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Here's a clip of a Cryptodendrum adhaesivum sea anemone spawning in Burma. There are some white "worms" around that look quite similar to the spawn. At one point one of them appears to swim straight into the anemone. Does anyone know what genus or species these are likely to be, if they are likely to be feeding on the spawn, and if this is typical behaviour?

 

http://www.footagesearch.com/video_clips/NH06_213

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It's a polychaete epitoke. Worms often spawn at the same time as corals or anemones. One theory is that if everyone spawns simultaneously there will be so much in the water that individuals have a better chance of escaping predators; another is that the animals are all responding to the same stimulus. Could be both are right.

 

I suspect the epitoke belongs to the family Eunicidae. It's not feeding on the anemone's spawn. The worm's movement is pretty erratic and it just blundered into the anemone. That puff of white is probably the worm exploding & releasing it's own gametes.

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Thanks very much Leslie! Interesting stuff indeed.

 

(off to rewrite script and record voiceover number 29...)

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