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lindai

Weird worm from Florida for Leslie

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Here is a weird worm I found on a night dive in southeast Florida (USA). Anyone know what it is? Thanks for the ID help!

Linda

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In lieu of a more specific ID I can at least tell that this is a Scale Worm, family Polynoidae.

 

Cheers,

Jim.

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Thanks, Jim. Seems like the best anyone can do so I will go with that.

Linda

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Hi Linda -- Thanks so much for posting this! It's quite rare to get photos of living scaleworms in this particular family. Polynoidae is a good guess as that's the largest family with hundreds of known species but there are several other families including the sea mice (Aphroditidae) where the scales are hidden under the "fur". This one belongs to family Acoetidae (= Polyodontidae in older books). You've got the head in focus which is how I can tell it's family Acoetidae - the eyes are on long stalks. Only some genera of acoetids have this feature. It's most likely to be a species of either Acoetes or Polyodontes. How large was it? A few of them get up to a meter in length.

 

I really like that you got a bit of the tube in the second photo. They have specialized glands which produce long fibers; these are combined with mucus & sediments to build thick felt-like tubes. They rarely leave home, preferring to ambush other critters from the safety of their tubes.

 

Cheerios, Leslie

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Thanks very much for the ID, Leslie.

 

I never saw the whole animal. When I first saw it, it was about 6" out of its tube, which is when I got the first shot. Then it withdrew so only a couple of inches were exposed for all subsequent shots. It was on a night dive .....

 

Regards, Linda

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