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Hotpants

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Hi,

 

So I have recently seen a weird worm in my tank. The only thing in the tank are some mushroom corals. No fish or invertebrates. He is about 4 inchs long, brownish color, EXTREMELY fast moving, only comes out at night, and hates light. The few times I have gotten a flash light on him parts of him will reflect fluorescent blue. A few minutes ago I caught him against the front glass. He immediately dove just under the top of the sand and quickly moved like a snake through the sand to the rocks. I have noticed him snooping around the corals a few times. little sand dunes have also started to appear around the tank. They look like mini volcanoes. They are about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch high, and appear all over the tank. From the few glimpses I have got he doest appear to have any bristles or legs coming out the side of him. Any Ideas?

 

Jon

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I have had these in my tank years ago...they are bristle worms. I had a bunch of mushrooms and other softies in the tank, and they did seem to bother them. From the research I did, these types don't seem to be a threat.

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Bristle worms generally aren't blue.. going to need a pic for this one.

 

Pro tip: put red Saran wrap over the flashlight or use a flashlight app on a smart phone to hit the worm with red tinted light.. probably won't run then.

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Thanks for the replies. I have lots of bristle worms in the tank, and it definitely doesn't look like one. I plan to stake out the tank tonight with a red flash light.

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Behavior sounds a bit like a peanut worm, but color sounds more like a Euclid. Some Euclids can be harmful to corals, but there are thousands of species... hard to make an ID without at least a picture.

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I got a kinda good look at him with the light tonight. He has tons of tiny little feet tentacle things going our each side. They were definitely not bristles. He also appeared to have a face. The end of him formed into a snout then it looked like he had two tiny black eyes.

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Behavior sounds a bit like a peanut worm, but color sounds more like a Euclid. Some Euclids can be harmful to corals, but there are thousands of species... hard to make an ID without at least a picture.

 

...that's what I thought.

If it is round with dark stripes here and there, than peanut right?

...but if more uni-colored and flat maybe a ribbon.

 

I wouldn't trip too much ....

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have caught it. He is about 8-9 inchs long, although he is able to retract within himself down to about 3-4 inchs. He also balled up when I first caught him. He is basically cut into three colors with a thin red line going down his back. The first part of him is dark brown, then it fades into a light brown, and It then cuts off into a light orange color. His back is in tiny little segments, and he has hundreds of tiny little feathery looking feet down his sides. He has 2 tiny black eyes and a bulbous snout. When I was removing the bottle trap with him in it I saw what appeared to be 2 smaller ones on the rocks. Pics should be up in about an hour, but any ideas now would be greatly appreciated.

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Monochrome5
It doesn't have bristles.

 

Then what are all those things down the sides? Those are called parapodia, or as normal people call them, bristles. They aren't legs or anything like that. They're modified chaeta that are used for everything from burrowing to breathing to defense based on the species.

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He uses them like a centipede to walk. And when he isnt walking they kinda float in the current. They also look slightly feathery as well. I have plenty of bristle worms in the tank and he doesn't behave like them at all. When he was crawling along the side of the container he was in, he would randomly turn around and crawl back along his own side. Could he be a sub species of bristle worm?

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Monochrome5

Polychaetes (bristle worms) are one of the largest taxa on earth, comprised of over 10,000 named species and an estimated 100,000 yet-to-be-named. It's quite possible you have more than one species of bristle worm in your tank. Keep in mind that behavior means nothing when an animal is stressed. Do you act the same stressed and threatened?

 

It isn't using it's parapodia to walk. Parapodia aid in movement and burrowing, however they can not be moved independently (like legs) nor can they support weight. Think of them as the hooks on velro - they stick to substrates and aid the worm as it's body contracts/expands and moves. The worm isn't using them to move, but rather is trying to get them to stick to something.

 

I'm wondering if you aren't mis-identifying the other creatures in your tank you call "bristle worms". If you could, snap some photos of the other bristle worms in your tank. Lets make sure you've actually got bristle worms and not planarians or something bad.

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These are what all my bristle worms look like.post-58834-1299742602_thumb.jpg

The coloration is really similar to my mystery worm, mine just doesn't have bristles.

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Monochrome5

Yup. Definitely a bristle worm.

 

Your mystery worm does have bristles. You can see them in the pictures and you have mentioned them yourself. They're just smaller. It probably means that the mystery worm is a more benthic species of polychaete. Smaller bristles usually means more moving over things ("swimming" if you will) and less burrowing into them.

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carbon-mantis

I'd go as well with some sort of polychaete. Given it's colors and proportions, it may not be the same species as our common bristle worms. Perhaps have a look over the chuck's addiction worm hitchhiker page and see if there's anything similar?

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It is possible that he looked closer then the picture's focus and it is just a bad picture. I 'think' I can see what appears to be bristles on his pics, but those are not very good photos. IMO new pictures of teh mystery worm if OP is for sure it has no bristles.

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