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Echiuran, Sausage Worm Identification FAQs

Related FAQs: Worm Diversity FAQs, FAQs 2, FAQs 3, & Worm IDs 1, Worm IDs 2, Worm IDs 3, Worm IDs 4, Worm IDs 5, Worm IDs 6, Worm IDs 7, Worm IDs 8, & Worm ID FAQs by Group/Phylum: Flatworm Identification ID, Nemertean, Proboscis, Ribbon Worm ID, Nematode, Roundworm ID, Nematomorpha, Horsehair Worm ID, Acanthocephalans, Thorny-headed Worm ID, Polychaete Identification, Polychaete ID 2, Tubeworm ID, Hirudineans, Leech ID, Sipunculids, Peanut Worm ID,

Related Articles: Worms, Polychaetes, Flatworms/Planaria,

Please Identify       3/4/17
Hi all,
<Hey Chris>
We just lost a Porcupine Puffer (Diodon Holocanthus) and since we aren't all together sure of the cause of his death, we wanted to make sure everything in the tank was dried out and dead (even all of the rock and sand) before deciding what of the supplies we wanted to introduce into our other marine tanks. While moving one of the live rocks, we found this creature embedded. It is quite large (about the size of my pinky finger).
Can you help identify it?
<Ah yes; I believe so. This appears to be an Echiuran:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/echwrmidfaqs.htm
Thanks.
<Not harmful; in fact indicative of good conditions. Bob Fenner>

Lovely Echiuran Sausage Worm      12/18/16
Found these beauties while cleaning out my sump. My first thought was they must be detritivores as they seems to be vacuuming the stuff up with their long proboscis and packing it in. They're fat!
<Neat! And desirable>
I looked them up on WWM and sure enough they are! My question is are they better off in my sump or my display tank where I just converted to a DSB?
I thought they could help keep things healthy in there, yes?
<Yes; do leave there. BobF>
Sky Kubby  

 

Do you know what this is? It is my saltwater aquarium.        4/17/16
<Would like a better pic (esp. of the head area), but this appears to be an Echiuran. Bob Fenner.

ID help       1/30/15
Can you help me ID this please
Your help is greatly appreciated
Katie Bramlett
<Appears to be a Sipunculid; a peanut worm; though it might be an Echiuran. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help Needed!!
Any idea what are these 2 things???  2/4/13
<Yes>
The green very long one , has it's bottom at the left of the screen , so as soon as you put a flashlight on it it shrinks in the hole at the left side.
It only gets out at late night after all the lights are gone and it goes back in the hole just before the lights light up early in the morning.
<... Likely an Echiuran. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/echwrmidfaqs.htm
Also after these 2 creatures an Euphyllia is damaged and maybe a  Sarcophyton.
Best regards
Kostas
<B>

 
Re: Help Needed!!  2/5/13
You are great !!! But you already know that !! :):):)
<Mmm>
And the other creature??? You believe it is the same??
<The "stringy thing" of the same colour? Yes if so. BobF>
Re: Help Needed!!  2/5/13

Yup that was the one I was talking about.
Thank you again!!
<Ah, cheers!>

Mystery worm ID 6/11/11
Hello WWM crew!
My name is Justin and I work at a local pet store. I'm currently attempting to become our aquatics specialist.
So to start off we usually have people come in with pictures or mysterious creatures from their RT that are found, so we can Id them. Today however, a young lady brought in a worm that I haven't seen in any book that we carry.
Its about 6 inches long when fully stretched out and has very fine feather duster-like tip.
<? Need a close up photo of this>
Its almost zebra striped with black and white sections. The odd part is that it retracts it's tip into itself like if you had pulled a pair of jeans inside out.
<Mmm...>
I did see a submission that sounded close to what I have presented you with, and you couldn't come up with an answer. The reason why I have resubmitted you with this question is because I have a picture and was hoping that it would be enough to help you with the answer.
Thanks
Justin R.
Mystery worm ID pic
http://cid-478c7353c7805235.skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?page=browse&resid=4
78C7353C7805235!105&type=5&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&authkey=C*9PgYN9vL
I%24
<I suspect this may be a member of the Echiura, though I see no example image via Google. Bob Fenner>

Re worm id... a vote for a peanut, nee Echiuran 6/13/2011
Hi Bob & crew,
<Alexander>
I saw this image today on WWM and think that it could be a peanut worm - the description of the feeding apparatus and the striped introvert would suggest as much.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WormPIX/Echiuran%20Sausage%20Worms/IMAG0017-1%20worm%20id.jpg
Alex
<Is also one of "next" guesses. Thanks, BobF>

unidentified organism 10/6/10
Hi guys,
<And gals Karen...>
Been a lurker for years; and finally had occasion to write. You are absolutely one of the best sources of info for saltwater enthusiasts of all levels (oh wait, you already know that). You¹re definitely my go-to guys
when I need to learn something aquatic.
I have maintained saltwater tanks for over 20 years now. Currently have a micro-reef setup (the Red Sea Max 130D retrofitted with a Nano Tunze skimmer) that I will eventually use as a seahorse tank (RSM has the benefit of being able to turn off one of the pumps to limit the flow).
<Ah yes>
Have added some soft corals and a pistol shrimp/watchman goby pair (too much fun to watch!) and am finishing a seahorse training course through Ocean Rider (they aqua-farm seahorses in Hawaii) before I purchase a few H. erectus.
In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying the tank (recent pic attached). I was sitting in front of it the other night (blue LED moon lights on) when I noticed something stretched almost across the tank horizontally, and stretched very taught. I thought perhaps somehow a hair had gotten in the tank. I shined a light on the object to try to identify it and it went ... zziiiiippppp, all the way back across the tank and into a rock.
Now I¹ve seen some stranger critters over the years that hitchhiked their way into my tank (some of my favorites things came that way), but this one beats them all. Thinking it was a worm of some sort, I tried researching along those lines which just made me conclude that it may not be a worm. But looks like a worm, acts like a worm, stretches like a worm, so...??? In any case, I thought I would try you guys for help.
I¹ve attached a couple of pics. They were taken at night (the only time it surfaces, and definitely not a happy camper if I try to look at it with a small flashlight). By the night I took these, it had moved its location to a few rocks down from the first I saw it in. The first pic is a labeled view of it stretched vertically across a lot of rock, and the second and third ones are close-ups of its head. I¹ve never seen such a wavy head on a worm.
It¹s certainly got me scratching my head. Any ideas?
Thanks muchly,
Karen
<Mmm, my guess is that this is a Nemertean... a ribbon worm... Am sending over to LynnZ for her input. Bob Fenner>


Follow-up Re: Unidentified Organism -- Bonellid Echiuran 10/6/10
Hi guys,
<Hi Karen, Lynn here today.>
Been a lurker for years; and finally had occasion to write. You are absolutely one of the best sources of info for saltwater enthusiasts of all levels (oh wait, you already know that). You¹re definitely my go-to guys when I need to learn something aquatic.
<That's great to hear/read, thank you!>
I have maintained saltwater tanks for over 20 years now. Currently have a micro-reef setup (the Red Sea Max 130D retrofitted with a Nano Tunze skimmer) that I will eventually use as a seahorse tank (RSM has the benefit of being able to turn off one of the pumps to limit the flow). Have added some soft corals and a pistol shrimp/watchman goby pair (too much fun to watch!) and am finishing a seahorse training course through Ocean Rider (they aqua-farm seahorses in Hawaii) before I purchase a few H. erectus.
In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying the tank (recent pic attached). I was sitting in front of it the other night (blue LED moon lights on) when I noticed something stretched almost across the tank horizontally, and stretched very taut. I thought perhaps somehow a hair had gotten in the tank. I shined a light on the object to try to identify it and it went ...zziiiiippppp, all the way back across the tank and into a rock. Now I¹ve seen some stranger critters over the years that hitchhiked their way into my tank (some of my favorites things came that way), but this one beats them all.
<These are odd-looking little guys, for sure.>
Thinking it was a worm of some sort,
<Yep, it's a harmless/beneficial deposit and suspension feeder called a Bonellid Echiuran (aka a 'spoon' or 'sausage' worm). Please see the following links for photo examples:
http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/courses.hp/zool250/LecOutl-07/Clades/clade05-Protostomia.htm
http://www.melevsreef.com/id/tendril.html
More information here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/echwrmidfaqs.htm
http://www.ronshimek.com/echiurans.html >
I tried researching along those lines which just made me conclude that it may not be a worm. But looks like a worm, acts like a worm, stretches like a worm, so...???
<It's a worm, of the unsegmented variety, that's a bit of a mess taxonomically speaking. Depending on where you look, these neat little creatures are either listed under the phylum Annelida (segmented worms), class Echiura or Echiuroidea, or in a phylum all their own: Echiura or Echiurida.>
In any case, I thought I would try you guys for help. I¹ve attached a couple of pics.
<Thanks, the shot of the anterior portion showing the distinctive 'T' shape clinched it!>
They were taken at night (the only time it surfaces,
<Typical behavior>
..and definitely not a happy camper if I try to look at it with a small flashlight).
<That's also typical. Like Sipunculids (peanut worms), Echiurans have a real problem with flashlights. One thing you might want to consider is getting a flashlight with a red filter/lens. They're much better for nighttime observation as the red doesn't startle the inhabitants nearly as much as bright white.>
By the night I took these, it had moved its location to a few rocks down from the first I saw it in. The first pic is a labeled view of it stretched vertically across a lot of rock, and the second and third ones are close-ups of its head. I¹ve never seen such a wavy head on a worm.
<It definitely has an odd look to it, doesn't it? It's also amazing how far these guys can stretch.>
It¹s certainly got me scratching my head. Any ideas?
<Yep, it's neat and I wish it were in my tank!>
Thanks muchly,
<You're very welcome.>
Karen
<Take care, Lynn Z><<Thank you Lynn. BobF>>

Re: Follow-up Re: Unidentified Organism: Bonellid Echiuran -- 10/9/10
Thanks Lynn.
<You're very welcome, Karen.>
You have made me a very (all caps) happy camper to know what this critter is.
<I'm glad I could help. Truth be told, it made me a happy camper to see such a neat little creature!>
WWM will continue to be my go-to source for information.
<That's great! If you need anything else, just let us know. Take care, Lynn Z>

Saltwater~ Dark, brown, & thick / Looking for worm name. 11/1/2009:
I have used your site many times to answer my other questions, it is very helpful. Thank you for your time and knowledge.
<Welcome!>
However, I was unable to identify a worm I found floating in my tank.
<Floating? This IS odd>
The closest picture I saw to my worm, was the one attached with question > FAQs about Worms, Vermiform Animals Identification 4: Flat Worms or Leeches?
He was either dead or very close to dying when I saw him in the tank. I immediately retrieved him, because I did not know what I was actually seeing in the tank.
<Good idea>
I have a 120 gallon, established reef tank, and had recently added some new soft corals. Worm Description: He was dark brown, not completely flat, actually kind of think. His approximate length was 1.5 inches and his width was similar to the size of an adult female pinky finger. He had slightly small, bristle like, feelers on the sides - really hard to see with human eye. I have attached a picture, however, it isn't the best clarity.
I have not seen any more worms, since this one was removed from the tank.
Thanks in advance for any help!
Rebecca R.
<I do think this is an Echiuran, a Sausage Worm. Please see the Net for pix, more info. re. Bob Fenner>

Alien Worm Thing: worm ID 1/7/03 Hey Gang, Happy New Year! Anthony, I finally got a picture, do you know what this Alien might be? It is stretched across the sand & can stretch at least 3/4 across the tank. I've seen it deep within the clove polyps & others in my tank & the corals don't look like they mind! This critter retracts very fast to the spot it is anchored at when the lights are turned on. <cheers, Scott... sorry I missed you in Colorado this week (Becky e-mailed or called you?). I just got back tonight :) Alas, nothing can be gleaned from the pics my friend... the subject is such a small/distant part of the image (literally a single digit percent of the image). Catch the organism and photograph in a dish/bowl if possible... else please try to get a better close up of part of it (the interesting end <G>). Arghhh! Wish I could be of more help here. Anthony>

What kind of worm? 1/8/04 Anthony, sorry I couldn't have lunch with y'all, she did email me, but, alas, I had plans for that day. On the worm, found out it's a Sausage worm, one of the R.M.R.C. members found the info & posted on the "Sir Anthony, what the heck is this" thread At Reef Central, Reef club forum! Maybe next time I'll be able to meet y'all for lunch! Happy New year, Scott <no worries mate... will try to catch you next time. Regarding the worm, the common names are...ahh... meaningless if used alone. Did they give you a genus at least? Is this a Lissomyema species? If so, did you have Atlantic rock? (A common gulf worm). Sausage worm... cool, I think. Neat name at any rate. I'm thinking of renaming myself sausage man, in fact... or "King Sausage". Ya... that one sounds much better to me <G>. Peace bro... Anthony>

Alien Worm Thing III Sausage Worm - Bonellia 1/8/04 Hi Anthony a.k.a *Sausage Man* (LOL) I'm gonna cut & paste the info we found about this critter....its in the Modern Coral Reef Aquarium Volume 3 by Svein and Fossa on pg 154, 155 <sweet... much appreciation for the reference. Duly noted and will be posted here for all as always> it is a sausage worm...phylum Echiurida according to the authors these guys are excellent detritivores, and are highly suitable for the reef aquarium, however are quite rare.... a description: a T shaped, several meter long proboscis extends from a tube where the mass of the animal resides and the proboscis which houses head/brain/mouth, etc moves in and out of crevices in search of food. this is the visible part of a sausage worm, and the trunk of the body remains well hidden in a crevice among live rock....... the t-shaped proboscis excretes a mucus to which food (detritus) adheres.. the worm is most likely Bonellia sp.!!!!.......And so this describes to a "T" this thing, that has been doin' it's thing in my reef. Catch ya next time around & on the boards Suasa...er...Anthony, Peace & Incense, Stormbringer <thanks again! :) Rock on my salty brother... Antoine>

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