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Worm?


KoolFish

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This worm took me over a couple of weeks to photo as it is very fast and seems to be nocturnal. It is strong enough to pull large pieces of substrate into it's hole and I believe it came in on the rock with the soft coral. It does seem to have tentical like things on it's head (not seen in photo) and it's brown. The photo is not that great, I will try to get a better shot of it next time.

 

It looks like one that might be the coral burrowing type. Should I seek out and destroy?

 

Thanks, Chris.

post-27179-1176206159_thumb.jpg

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Well, I can't really tell from your picture, but it sounds as if it might be a sipunculid, or peanut worm. These are common hitchhikers and beneficial reef residents.

 

A couple of failsafe characteristics for peanut worm identification are its "telescoping" habit of movement (the visible part of the worm seems to telescope into/out of itself as it contracts/expands) and a corona of bristles around the mouth parts when it is fully extended. Fascinating to watch!

 

(As these guys are nocturnal and quickly withdraw when disturbed, you might want to use a red light of some sort to observe more closely. Simply wrapping a flashlight lens in red cellophane will do...)

 

Do a search on peanut worms and see if that's what you have. They can be light or dark colored, striped or plain...

 

--Diane

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Well, I can't really tell from your picture, but it sounds as if it might be a sipunculid, or peanut worm. These are common hitchhikers and beneficial reef residents.

 

It was difficult to take that photo. I will try to get a better one.

 

A couple of failsafe characteristics for peanut worm identification are its "telescoping" habit of movement (the visible part of the worm seems to telescope into/out of itself as it contracts/expands) and a corona of bristles around the mouth parts when it is fully extended. Fascinating to watch!

 

(As these guys are nocturnal and quickly withdraw when disturbed, you might want to use a red light of some sort to observe more closely. Simply wrapping a flashlight lens in red cellophane will do...)

 

Do a search on peanut worms and see if that's what you have. They can be light or dark colored, striped or plain...

 

--Diane

 

I did a bit of searching and I could only come up with it either being an annelid worm or the one that burrows into soft or hard corals. It looks like it is segmented and a centipede like body. It does appear to have something that contracts/extends at the one end (head). I have only seen probably half of it's length as the rest of it remains in the rock.

 

Thanks,

 

Chris.

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from your picture and description I would call it a "Peanut worm" looks lke the ones I have in my tank.

 

That's two that say it's probably a peanut worm, so it probably is. I will still try and get a better photo.

 

Thanks to you both for your help!

 

Chris

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Well, you could be right too. There's no shortage of possible worms! Many of them annelids.

 

Here are some pics I have of some of my sipunculids.

 

This is one of the black & white striped ones, a favorite of mine. This one lived under the little zoa clump for a time:

 

dscn2634largeoz0.jpg

 

In the following two images you can see the mouth bristles a little if you look closely--naturally they're not in focus very well! :angry:

 

dscn2640largeyp2.jpg

 

dscn2649mediumzt4.jpg

 

Here's a plainer one just sort of waiting for lights out. :) In the second shot he's checking out an encroaching Stomatella:

 

dscn2712mediuman2.jpg

 

dscn2737largesg2.jpg

 

Those two happened to be a little active with the lights on, but here are some shots taken by flashlight of more typical peanut worm behavior, after lights out:

 

dscn4469largekb8.jpg

 

dscn4478largesf5.jpg

 

It would be possible to mistake all these "wrinkles" for the segments of an annelid!

 

For some reason, though sipunculids are very common hitchhikers, they're not written up too often on the sites or in the books we often look to for info...

 

--Diane

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Well, you could be right too. There's no shortage of possible worms! Many of them annelids.

 

--Diane

 

They all seem to have similar characteristics. I was going to take a photo of it last but as soon as you get close it's gone. I would leave the camera in place on the tripod but with kids around, forget!

 

Chris

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Here is a better photo of the worm. Looks similar to the last photo of Diane's.

 

- Chris

 

Actually I think it looks closer to this:

IMG_2977.jpg

 

If so, get the worm out (if you can) ... it would be a Eunicid worm, and they are notorious for eating snails and hermits. I unfortunately have one that I can't get because he is living in a large rock at the base of my reef ... he (so far) just takes a snail from time to time.

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If so, get the worm out (if you can) ... it would be a Eunicid worm, and they are notorious for eating snails and hermits. I unfortunately have one that I can't get because he is living in a large rock at the base of my reef ... he (so far) just takes a snail from time to time.

 

That does look alot like it. I don't know if I will be able to catch this guy, very fast and is using the rock that the Chili Sponge is on as it's home. So far I haven't lost any snails. It also does not seem to come completly out of it's rock.

 

- Chris

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Chris,

 

I agree with seahorsejl, it's definitely not a sipunculid. Those bristles along the side make it definitely a bristle worm of some kind. (And that's certainly what your original description, "like a centipede," sounded like, which is why I said that it didn't sound exactly like a sipunculid--it was just the first picture and your description of its behavior, and the fact that peanuts are a very common hitcher, that led me to suggest them.)

 

There are tons of different bristle worms, and you may get lucky and not have a Eunicid, but probably shouldn't take any chances. If your tank is relatively new & unpopulated, it would be easier to get it out now rather than later...

 

If you do a search here I think you can find threads on worm-catching...

 

Here are some random worm articles that may help nail down your identification, or lead to other helpful links:

 

http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-04/rs/index.php

 

http://home2.pacific.net.ph/%7Esweetyummy42/hitchworms.html

 

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/k.davis11/worms.html

 

http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-05/rs/index.php

 

Good luck!

 

--Diane

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