Not All Marine Worms Look Like Worms
Sabellastarte spectabillis | Featherduster | Fan Worm | Cacing Bulu Ayam | Photo By Yusri Yusof
Yes, you heard that right! This is a marine tube worm and they are important members that not only make up the coral reefs, but also add color and life within the ecosystem. You can find them between coral structures making their own tube-like homes (Who needs to hire a contractor when you can build your own)! These tubes feel rough yet fragile to the touch.
These worms do not move around once it settled on a suitable substrate and built its tube. By exposing their colourful branchial crown “feathers” (or fan structure) used to gracefully filter food particles in the water column. This filter feeding action maintains the water quality in coral reef ecosystem. The rest of the worm’s body is in the tube, and it can retract the whole body quickly (including the branchial crown) into the tube if it feels threatened.
Ocean Hope Message: Next time you encounter this tube worm in the coral reefs, please do not try to touch or remove it. Frequent disturbances may affect the worm’s health.