Plummed Worm Casing
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.