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The Seashore

Terebellid worms


Terebellid worms

The head end of Amphitrite. Note the long trailing tentacles for feeding and the dark red crown of gills.

These beautiful marine worms can grow to 15 cm or more. They have little mobility. The head is a crown of tentacles and red gill threads, containing haemoglobin. Down the side of the body are many segments and numerous bristles (chaetae). They live in a tube of sticky mucus that breaks very easily.

Amphitrite is a genus of the Terebellid marine worms. They rest in their mucus tube which become thickly covered in fine sand and broken shell material. They are sedentary and feed by waving the tentacles out of the tube into the seawater. In section the tentacles are U-shaped and fine organic debris (detritus) gets caught in these gutters. Then fine hairs (called cilia) beat to move the food particles along the gutter into the mouth. They are large worms and require plenty of oxygen.

Amphitrite worms

Amphitrite worms live amongst sand and gravel on depositing seashores and under large stones on rocky seashores. They are often very abundant with smaller ones found inside the holdfasts of Laminarians. The main species is A. johnstoni

See also Sand Mason worm another Terebellid worm

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