Christmas Tree Worm on a Massive Starlet Coral at
Rainbow Reef near Bimini, The Bahamas
Corals shelter many kinds of invertebrates, such as this Christmas-Tree Worm. This worm builds a tube on the surface of the coral, and as the coral grows it buries the tube in the skeleton of the coral. Then the worm is protected with only its head showing. If danger threatens, the worm can pull its head down into its tube in the blink of an eye.
You can see the "antennae" on the top of this worm's head. These two "antennae," called radioles, work like a net to catch tiny plankton that float by in the ocean currents. The radioles also work like gills, allowing the worm to breathe.
Click here to see another picture of a Christmas Tree Worm, showing the worm's tube.
Many fish such as Butterflyfish try to eat these worms.
Click here to see pictures of several different kinds of Butterflyfishes.
Learn more about the reefs of Bimini on the ReefNews Bimini webpages.