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The surprisingly beautiful 'worms' of the tropical coral reefs. Many of these so called 'worms' are unrelated and in completely different groups, but are gathered here because they resemble or are named 'worms'...

Phylum Platyhelminthes: 'Flatworms'

The flatworms on coral reefs can be confused with the nudibranch sea slugs, however the latter have obvious fluffy appendages (the Spanish Dancer is an example).

Order Polycladida

(Arnarvon Islands, Solomon Islands)

Thysanozoon flavomaculatum, 'Yellow spot Flatworm', 'Gold-flecked Flatworm'.

Phylum Annelida: Worms

This group includes the 'true' worms of the soil and sea.

Class Polychaeta

Family Serpulidae, 'Calcareous Tubeworms'

Like the 'Feather Duster Worms' of the Family Sabellidae, these worms also have two fans extending from the tube, however they differ in that the tube is hard and made from calcium carbonate. When disturbed they withdraw quickly and seal their tube off with the operculum.

Protula bispiralis, 'Magnificent Tube Worm'. Two relatively large spires, with several beautifully delicate whorls. Orange and cream in colour. Tube often extending obviously from reef. (Rajah Ampat, Indonesia).

Spirobranchus, 'Christmas Tree Worms'. Small and very common 'fluffy' feeding tentacles that usually grow out of the top of Boulder Coral in groups, and appear in many different colours. The tentacles suck back in quickly when the snorkeller gets too close (Rajah Ampat, Indonesia).

Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly in the Kimberley with Coral Expeditions (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.