Mystery Worms in the ITZ

Feather Duster Worm

Habitat

They inhabit a wide range and can be found in the shallow, intertidal areas where they are out of the water at low tide or living at a depth of almost 150 feet, or anywhere in between. These worms do well in turbulent areas, since the wave action tends to stir up plankton, offering the stationary worms more opportunities to catch food.

Daily Changes

  • Most sea creatures face constant danger from marine predators, and a hungry fish is sometimes quick enough that it can bite off a piece of the feather duster worm before it can hide. This diminishes the worm’s ability to feed itself, but only temporarily, since these worms are able to regrow missing or damaged parts. Having plenty of tentacles is also important because feather duster worms use them to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide, so the ability to regenerate missing tentacles quickly helps them keep breathing.
  • The sorting of trapped particles in the crown begins in the conducting grooves on the radioles and finishes at the base of the crown. Large particles ride high on the conducting grooves and they are rejected and emitted up into the current stream at the base. Medium sized particles pass along the center of the conducting grooves and are moved to storage areas where they are subsequently used in the construction of the tube in soft tube species. Fine particles are moved by cilia along the lower portion of the conducting groove into tracts that lead into the mouth. The food includes bacteria, fine detritus and other particulate organic matter, phytoplankton, and tiny microorganisms.