dejayM's picture

Vermicelli Worm

Observed: 4th September 2013 By: dejayM
Biological Recording In ScotlandHighland Biological Recording GroupOrkney Biodiversity Records Centre
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Supporting which still has no agreements.
Picture 3 is as found, after the covering stone had been removed. It turned out to be two worms, perhaps mating. Once settled into my specimen tub on tissue paper, they relaxed and put on a show.
I was struck by the suffused appearance, suggesting that their digestive and circulation systems have a lot to offer researchers (see comment).
The tentacles are mostly towards the head end but another, lesser group, appears further down at about at one third of length. But there are quite a few tentacles at other points. The worm appears to be able to stretch and contort over quite a range. Picture 5 shows it back in the pool.
The Internet is very sparse with descriptions and detail. Hayward & Ryland is (are) disappointing.
Cirratulidae, Cirratulidae, Cirratulidae, CIRRATULIDAE!

Species interactions

No interactions present.


dejayM's picture


There has been a good deal of study regarding these worms being able to cope with low oxygen levels (in thick hypoxic mud for instance). I noticed how quickly the suffusion appeared after I dragged this worm from its bed. I rested her on a sea-wetted piece of kitchen roll, which I then immersed in a small photo-tub (ex ice cream).
This quite observable phenomenon became more obvious when I returned her to the pool, where she quickly lost most of her blush.

JoC's picture

Cirriformia tentaculata

has agreement now, as does this one.


dejayM's picture

Pasta worms

(I am away from home (sweet home)) But I did set out to convince myself, not too may others. That YOU are convinced, Jo, is good enough for me, though I would appreciate ChrisMc's endorsement.
Overall I am quite satisfied with each of these IDs (Spaghetti and Vermicelli!), which represent my firmer understanding of nomenclature and anatomy.
Note that Hayward & Ryland describe it well, for me specially "...Prostomium [sensory organ?] a blunt cone without well developed eyes.."
I think we can see this in P1 (original).

I have two other teasers to post when I get home.

Leslie Harris's picture


Hayward & Ryland don't list all the species or the necessary characters for a solid id which you have to keep in mind when using it. Tim Worsfold has done a nice provisional summary of UK cirratulids which is available here

I can't go past family because the photos don't show enough detail to know which genus it is. That might not be a problem if I knew what your species look like alive - but I don't. Someone local who's seen lots of these & keyed them out would be much more likely to know what it is based on overall appearance.