Worms – Segmented Worms, Ribbon Worms, Flatworms

This phylum takes its name from the Latin annelis, or “little ring”, referring to the grooves that encircle the worm’s body, dividing it into segments.  Of the approximately 9,000 species of worms in the phylum – which also includes earthworms, freshwater worms, and leeches – the marine worms or class Polychaeta comprise 6,000 to 8,000.

White Calcareous Tube-Worm

White Crown Calcareous Tube Worm
White Crown Calcareous Tube Worm, taken Kelvins Grove
White Crown Calcareous Tube Worm
White Crown Calcareous Tube Worm

White Calcareous Tube-Worm
Serpula columbiana
Common Name: Calcaerous Tube Worm, Red-Trumpet Calcareous Tube Worm, Limy Tube Worm, Colourful Calcareous Tube Worm
Size: 2 or 3 inches (5-8 cm) long, tubes up to 4 inches (10 cm) long.
Identifying Features: Calcareous tube worms have bright colors varying from orange to red with white bands.  The most indicative feature of these organisms is their feathery flower like crown arranged in two spiraled-semicircles.  The crown consists of branched tentacles known as cirri or radioles and a trumpet shaped operculum.  The tentacles reorganize into a funnel shaped stopper when the crown is withdrawn.  Then animal lives in white calcified tubes.  These tubes can be up to 10 cm long and about 2 mm in diameter.  Coils of white tubes are often seen fastened to hard substrates.
Habitat: This species commonly attaches to rocks, shells, floats, piers, stones, and algae such as Furcus.  They live in tide pools and low intertidal zone to 100 m (330 ft) deep.  These worms tend to stay away from Nereocystis luetkeana, a type of kelp.  These kelps contain carbon monoxide in their pneumatocysts, which is high,y toxic to Serpula columbiana.  The organism can be found in various places from Alaska to Northern California.  They are also seen in South and West Britian, West of Scotland, Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
Food: Members of Serpula columbiana are filter feeders that feed on tiny microscopic organisms and detrital particles.  When feeding, the animal extends the radioles from the anterior of its tube.  Chains of cilla on these tentacles drift food particles towards the mouth.
Predators: Some of Serpula columbiana’s predators are the wrasse Ctenolabrus rupestris and Crenilabrus melops, the sea stars Asterias arbens and Pisaster orchracus, and the urchins E. esculentus and P. miliaris.  WHen the worm is threatend, it reacts instantly by withdrawing into its tube and closing its entrance-way with its operculum.
Life Cycle: Serpula columbiana has separate sexes and goes through long breeding season occuring in summer.  The operculum functions as a brood pouch in the species reproduction.  Its reproduction includes a larval swimming phase.  When removed from tubes, the animal releases gametes that develop into a trochophore larva.  Prototroch, metaroch and other structures of the larva are visible after on week.  A long apical tuft and a stomach are seen three days later.  After two weeks, the head grows farther from the body, and the ocelli move closer to each other.  In addition, radiole buds of the larvae are developed.  The radiole buds will eventually become adult feeding structures and respiratory organs.  As larvare develop into juveniles, they will choose a location to settle.

Purple (Red) Trumpet Calcareous Tubeworm

Purple Trumpet Calcareous Tube-Worm, Taken Coopers Green
Purple Trumpet Calcareous Tube-Worm, Taken Coopers Green

Purple (Red) Trumpet Calcareous Tube-Worm
Serpula columbiana
Common Names: colourful calcareous tubeworm, limy tubed worm, fan worm, plume worm
Size: to 6.5 cm (2.5 in) long .6cm (.3 in) diameter.
Range: Alaska to California
Habitat:  Intertidal to more then 100m (330 ft)
Comments: the color of the tube worm is always brilliant!  The characteristic sinuous, irregular coil of the chalky white tube is attached to the substrate over the most of its length but the distal (head) is usually elevated.


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