pen-y-bont_mike's picture

Honeycomb worm

Observed: 24th October 2010 By: pen-y-bont_mikepen-y-bont_mike’s reputation in Invertebratespen-y-bont_mike’s reputation in Invertebratespen-y-bont_mike’s reputation in Invertebratespen-y-bont_mike’s reputation in Invertebrates

Oct 2010. Constructed out of grains of sand these tubes are clustered tightly together in a honeycomb structure. I think you can see live worms in some of the tubes. Found in the inter tidal range there are lots of these reefs on this bit of coast.
The 2nd photo is the unedited version of the 1st. The 3rd photo is of a nearby much smaller reef showing a bit of context and some other creatures including what look like live, open barnacles (as well as lots of lens flare!)

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Nick Upton's picture

Worm beauty

Great shots. Very photogenic structures, nicely lit, good depth of field. Did this need a very low tide for them to be exposed?

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.

pen-y-bont_mike's picture



Thanks for your comments.

This coast line has the 2nd highest tidal range in the world. I've never specifically checked but I suspect that some would be exposed on most tides.

If the historical tide data I've just found is correct and I had the correct BST/GMT time set on the camera then these photos were taken about 2.5 hours before low tide (1.29m) at a height of approx 4m. Low tide is rarely, if ever, as high as that.


Nick Upton's picture

Low tide

Many thanks for this. Must look out for these in future. I know some of the SW Wales coast, especially the Gower, and must have overlooked these worm tubes, though it may be too exposed where I've been. The tidal range at the Worm's head is huge also - and I like to know the tide times when I've crossed the causeway!

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.

pen-y-bont_mike's picture

Location and tides

I suspect these may be quite localised. The only place I've noticed them is the 2km or so stretch from Rest Bay in Porthcawl to Sker Point at Kenfig, where these were taken and I notice them most often. I've never looked for them on Gower but Kenfig NNR is only about 20km from Swansea on the M4 and is always worth a visit.

You can get free 7 day tide predictions from the Easy Tide section of the Hydrographic Office site ( but for ease of reference I use this site:

I think they use Port Talbot data but given the proximity to Porthcawl and Swansea they should be accurate enough for both places for your purposes.

Nick Upton's picture


Many thanks for the info and tips. Must check out this section of coast some time - not too far down the M4 for me.. Enjoyed your Flickr pics - great range of shots. The Whitethroat with caterpillars is especially stunning... You must have a some good lenses and know how to get the best from them!

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.

ChrisMcA's picture

They're quite common along

They're quite common along this coast, eg Swansea near the library, or far end Caswell bay, and don't need very low tides

Nick Upton's picture


Thanks for this tip Chris.

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.