5 Oct 2011

Return of the fire worm!

The time has come...summer is gone and the return to the city is inevitable for most people.
At this point, underwater, Eastern Mediterranean Inhabitants are enjoying the tides of calmness and quiet that comes with the migration of the masses of people, back to the cities and away from the sea. In this photo sequence we can clearly see how the worms enjoy a good stretching after the busy summer season...I suggest to all city inhabitants, take a deep breath, do your stretching exercises and get ready for a winter full of surprises, both on the land and sea!

Fire worms are one of the few dangerous species in the sea, as you can imagine by their name, also called brisstle worms dew to the white bristles covering the sides of their body. When waved at (wafting!) these bristles are extended (puff out), and if touched they can cause a burning sensation. If this should happen you can try to remove some of them with cello tape but you will not be able to remove all of them. The worm is composed of 125 segments (no wonder they can stretch out so much), each possesing 2 tufts of white bristles and one pair of red, branched gills.
They viciously feed on anemones and Tubastrea corals, however they do enjoy a good scavenge, as Hector blogs here http://medi-sea.blogspot.com/2009/06/and-more-kinky.html