Plumed Worm (Diopatra cuprea Bosc, 1802)

Plumed Worm
Diopatra cuprea Bosc, 1802

Plumed Worm:
It's a Strange Worm Out There

By Patricia B. Mitchell.

The Plumed Worm is one of many in the world of segmented sea worms. The reason a seashell collector would be interested in a sea worm is because its leftover parchment-like outer tube sometimes washes up on the beach. This oddity looks like shell bits and ocean debris strung on a string. Actually, the “string” is a tube inside which the worm lived beneath shallow water. Part of the tube was smooth, and was below the surface of the sediment. The part of the tube projecting above the sediment was colonized by seaweeds and small animals, on which the worm inside the tube fed. The worm's tube may be up to a foot long, and Diopatra cuprea can poke in and out, even reaching over to feed on a neighboring worm's “decorations.”


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