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bristleworm identification


puffin

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how do I tell a caribbean fireworm (coral eating) from a regular fireworm? I have about 8 red bristle worms all at about an inch long crawling around my tank and I am now reluctant to stick my hands in the tank from fear of touching one. and how should I regulate, not destroy (I know the normal ones are beneficial) the population?

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BustytheSnowMaam

You're probably fine, I would highly, highly doubt it's a fireworm. They usually stay in a hole in the rock unless it's feeding time, so don't stick your hand in after putting food in if you're afraid of them- or wear rubber gloves. They're good guys, one bristle worm is worth 10 hermits.

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Amphiprion1
how do I tell a caribbean fireworm (coral eating) from a regular fireworm? I have about 8 red bristle worms all at about an inch long crawling around my tank and I am now reluctant to stick my hands in the tank from fear of touching one. and how should I regulate, not destroy (I know the normal ones are beneficial) the population?

 

If it is Hermodice carunculata, then you would primarily see it eating corals. Other than that, it is easy to tell by looking for the caruncle (hence the specific nomial). It should be a fairly obvious and bright red tuft on the top of the worm's head. Here is a link to some pics showing what I mean:

 

http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/hermodice/Interesting

 

All of the worms shown should have that characteristic caruncle.

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my hermit crabs are so stupid, little bastards. thanks though.

 

they bristle worms are only red and white, none of the other multicolor stuff. so the one with the tuft on its head is a caribbean fireworm?

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Amphiprion1
my hermit crabs are so stupid, little bastards. thanks though.

 

they bristle worms are only red and white, none of the other multicolor stuff. so the one with the tuft on its head is a caribbean fireworm?

 

Yep, though those are spectacular specimens and photos--hard to imagine a worm being that pretty... You probably have something similar to a Eurythoe species, though.

 

As an FYI, technically all amphinomid polychaete worms are called fireworms. "Bristleworm" includes all polychaete worms. So, essentially, all fireworms are bristleworms, but not vice-versa.

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