Plummed Worm Casings

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Project Description

Plummed Worm Casing

Diopatra cuprea

Range/Geographical Distribution: Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico.

Habitat: Shallow mud and sand flats with shell debris or gravel.

Description: Plummed worm casings are the end of a long tube that a polychaete worm occupies.  The red/gray/brown leathery tube is made of mucus, shells pieces, and rocks or sand.  The worm itself looks like a Christmas tree because of all of its “plumes” or gills, but it is rarely seen.

Size: Tubes can reach three feet in length and the worms that inhabit them can grow to a foot long.

Food: Predators; worms consume small fish and other animals that come within reach of their tube.

Breeding: Sexual reproduction, eggs are laid in a gelatinous mass.

Predators: Fish, crabs, and birds.

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts: Plummed worms can regenerate lost limbs or tissue after predation.

Project Details


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