Please visit our Sponsors
Bristle/Fireworms Identification FAQs 5

Related FAQs: Polychaete ID 1, Polychaete ID 2, Polychaete ID 3, Polychaete ID 4, Bristleworm ID 6, Bristleworm ID 7, Bristleworm ID 8, Bristleworm ID 9, Bristleworm ID 10, Bristleworm ID 11, 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, Tubeworm ID, Hirudineans, Leech ID, Sipunculids, Peanut Worm ID, Echiuran Worm ID, & Bristle/Fireworms 1, Bristle/Fireworms 2, Bristle/Fireworms 3, Bristle/Fireworms 4, Worm Identification, Polychaete Behavior, Polychaete Compatibility, Polychaete System, Polychaete Selection, Polychaete Feeding, Polychaete Disease, Polychaete Reproduction,

Related Articles: Worms, Polychaetes, Flatworms/Planaria,

What Kind of Worm???? Using WWM... 11/4/07 Would you please help me identify this worm? We found it while cleaning a huge amount of green hair algae off of our live rock. <Is a Polychaete... an Errantiate of some sort...> They are about the thickness of a pencil and 3" to 4" long, there are several of them. And could u <...> please tell me if it is ok to have them or should I try to get rid of them. Thanks in Advance for any help, Kandra <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polychaeidfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Large Bristleworm 10/26/07 So my tank is in about its 4th week, and I've just found a rather large (5 inch or thereabout) worm of some kind. He is blue/green in color, and the closest I can come to describing him is that he looks like a centipede of some kind. <Sounds like a Bristleworm.> He looks, far as I can tell in my brief glances, something like this guy...but again, I haven't gotten a super close up look at him. <Would not be unexpected in your tank.> The questions are these...should I be getting this guy outta there? <Normally I would say no, they are quite beneficial scavengers, but this guy is starting to get pretty big, I worry he might turn predatory of he can not find enough food.> There's nothing dead in the tank: 5 live snails, 6 live hermits, and a bunch of algae on live rock...that's it...is he going to starve if I DON'T pull him? <Might> I'm VERY new to this reef keeping hobby, and nearly fell over when I spotted a large worm crawling through a rock...when I knew I hadn't put him in there!!! Mitch <Its can be surprising what shows up on LR. At this point if you can remove him I would, but I would not go to drastic measures to do it.> <Chris>

Bobbit Worm? (Eunice Spp) 9/26/07 Even crew - <Hello Hendy, Mich here this early morn.> you are all well I trust? <I can only speak for myself and I am quite well thank you!> One of my favourite pastimes is to feed the tank with a prawn or lance fish after lights out and watch the "unseen tank" perform it's clean up. <Even better with a red light!> It's normally a free-for-all between the hermits, Saron shrimps, coral banded shrimps and the usual mass of polychaete worms. <Cool!> It has been like this for two tears nearly. Nothing has changed and definitely no new rock. <OK.> Imagine my surprise when this beastie showed up to claim the sand eel tonight. <Heehee! Is a beastie for sure!> I am certain it is a "Bobbit worm" Eunice sp. <I am in agreement with your identification.> but it seems to lack the massive chelicerae of the pictures in my books. It has a huge mouth which rather reminds me of those aircraft where the nose & cabin opens up to allow freight in and out as this worm definitely seems to have a "flip-top head" <Heehee! A la a Muppet or perhaps Julia Roberts?> and a good appetite to match. <Goes with the "flip-top head"> I was worried at first but having done a tiny bit of research, I am tempted to leave them (yes there are at least two - the one in the photo, diameter of about 4mm and another tiny one about the width of a pencil lead) <If there are two there could easily be more...> as I has witnessed they are definitely good clean-up and increase the bio-diversity. <True.> I don't seem to have a problem with fish disappearing <Yet.> so either they are a non-predatory species (a minority are I understand) <OK. You are making an informed decision.> or they are getting enough to eat <I'm leaning towards this.> - I often feed after dark to keep my sand snails happy. <And many other creatures as well!> Just after some advice from you <Well you seem to have made a decision and an informed one at that. These are typically predatory as you know.> - sorry the picture isn't great, <No apologies! Actually, the pic is quite good! These guys are hard to catch on "film".> but it took me ages to coax it out with the fish <I can imagine.> - and they are timid of the light and lightning fast <Super fast!> - had loads of failed shots. <I bet!> All the best
<And to you Hendy! Mich>

ID Needed Please'� Egg Mass'� Perhaps of a Polychaete Worm 8/30/07Hello, <Hi Brad, Mich here.> I cannot thank you all enough for what you guys do for us! <Just trying to help. Thank you for your kind words.> That being said, I'm stumped on this one. Can you possibly ID this for me? <I'll give it a try!> I have two of them growing out of my sand bed, they are a bubble of some sort with specks inside. Good/bad? <Excellent picture by the way. Is the reproductive matter of something, an egg mass, likely an invert, and from what I have read, but have been unable to find pictures to really compare is it may be that of polychaete annelid worms. Nothing to worry about and when they hatch, likely in a day or so, it will make a tasty treat for your fish and corals.> Thank you for your time in this matter! <Welcome! The Brad

Id help: Epitoke - 8/14/07 Hey everyone, <Hey Noah> I'll start with the required (but well deserved of course) Wow your site is awesome, I love it. <Thanks!> Anyway, just recently I found this odd little thing in my tank (pictures included). The white part is the head, and it does seem to have visible eyes, mouth, etc. It behaves very oddly. It will swim like an eel to the top of my tank, sit there trying to get its head out of the water (at least that's what it looks like), then suddenly stop moving and sink to the bottom of the tank. It does this entire cycle maybe once every 5 minutes. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Well Noah, what you've got there is an epitoke, sometimes called a 'swarmer'. It's a reproductive form of an errant polychaete worm (sorry - can't quite see enough to give a better Id). There are several different ways these worms reproduce. In this case, the back half develops into a segment filled with gametes (eggs or sperm). When the time is right (usually a phase of the lunar cycle), the worm emerges and the posterior section breaks away. That section then swims up into the water column, and releases its gametes in a mass spawning event. The head/anterior section returns to the bottom and regenerates. By the way, with only one of these present in your tank, you don't have to worry about an imminent plague of polychaetes! For more information, please Google the terms 'epitoke' or 'epitoky'. Also, here are a couple of photos of one I had in my tank for comparison. It had a very similar looking segmented posterior section and is in the Family Nereididae. Size-wise, it was a little over 4.5' long. http://wetwebfotos.com/usermedia/high/0/2470_44.jpg http://wetwebfotos.com/usermedia/high/0/2470_46.jpg > Thank you very much, Noah <You're very welcome! -Lynn>

Re: Id help: Epitoke - 8/14/07 Thanks again! <Anytime, Noah! It's pretty strange to see something like that swimming around in your tank, isn't it (but pretty neat too!). <lol> I hate to admit it, but that one I photographed initially scared the living daylights out of me. I'd just woken up, the lights were still off in the tank, and I went in for a close look to check things out. Evidently, the worm had been floating/resting up at the surface, and suddenly decided to zoom by, right in front of me. I jumped back about a foot and let out the most embarrassingly girly shriek ever. I laugh about it now, but at the time'�yikes! The lesson I learned was to avoid going in for those close-ups first thing in the morning! I figure it spares me, as well as the creatures living in my tank! <g> Anyway, it was a pleasure helping you, and please let us know if there's anything else we can do for you. --Lynn>

Re: Worm Identification, Follow-up - 8/17/07 Thanks again crew! <You're very welcome!> Sadly, the little guy was sucked into a powerhead last night.:( <Aw, I'm sorry to hear that. Thank you for sharing the photos and experience with us, though. By the way, here are several good links for future reference re: polychaete Id: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-03/rs/index.php, and: http://home2.pacific.net.ph/~sweetyummy42/hitchworms.html. Good luck, and thanks for keeping in touch. -- Lynn>

Re: Identification? Worm 8/15/07 Ill try to find it and get it out of tank, should be able to get a close-up of it then! <Real good>

Re: Identification? 8/16/07 Ok, so i got it and looked at it under a microscope. It has 8 legs (or whatever the proper term is) on each side of the forward half of the body. It has two dark lines going from head to tail, and a visible blood vessel (or something of the sort) that has a visible pulse. It is about 3 mm wide at the front half, and 4-5 on the back. It is about 14 mm long. Some more pictures are included, hopefully they will be better. Noah <Ahh, thank you for these. I do agree with Lynn that this is very likely an epitoke... a "reproductive unit" of a polychaete... Very common in the world's oceans... and not a worry. Bob Fenner>

Marine critter ID -- 07/18/07 Hi Crew, I've written in several times before with freshwater aquarium questions, but this time it's a matter of curiosity rather than fish care. We're vacationing at Bald Head Island, North Carolina. We were out in the sound at low tide and noticed these guys on a sandbar, sticking up out of the sand with about an inch exposed. As best we can tell, they're hollow, flexible tubes made of cemented sand--or made of something else, and very well coated with sand. They're three or four inches at the longest, and never more than three millimeters wide. They look like worm casings, but we've carefully dug around them, rather than just pulling them up, and we've never found anything in or under them. My brother's best guess is horseshoe worms, but the casings aren't U-shaped. In fact, we found one tube with three tubes branching off of it. <I think you've found the tubes of some kind of Maldanidae worm, maybe a "bamboo worm" or something similar. At first I also thought they were parchment/horseshoe worms (Chaetopterus variopedatus). But as you pointed out, they aren't u-shaped and they don't seem quite as tough or big as Chaetopterus variopedatus worm tubes usually are. There are Maldanidae worms which have narrower and more brittle tubes made of sand and mucus. This seems to fit your description and picture. However, I couldn't tell you which species might be common in North Carolina. I suppose it's also possible that these are just old, empty Chaetopterus worm tubes that have just been broken up.> Attached is a picture. Obviously it's not an urgent matter, but we'd appreciate a guess as to what they are! <Btw, this is a cool site for beach findings in North Carolina: www.okeefes.org/Marine_Life/marinelife.htm> Thanks,
<No problem.

Bristleworm Regeneration 7/14/07 Dear Crew, <Hi Eric, Mich here.> I have found conflicting information on this on the web, and nothing specific here on WWM, so I thought I'd ask. If, when trying to remove a bristleworm with tweezers, said worm breaks in half, will the posterior portion of the worm remaining in the tank regrow a head and survive? <Theoretically, yes, it is possible, and has been done in a laboratory setting. See the article below. However, I suspect it is uncommon in an aquarium setting, particularly given the number of segments you removed. http://www.springerlink.com/content/uqhnrcw04vp7v9wa/ > The worms I am specifically dealing with are large (8-10 inches) <YIKES!!!!> and I believe are members of the Amphinomidae family. (Please see attached photo.) <Yes, looks to be an Eurythoe spp.> Thanks in <Welcome! Mich>

Red worms with black Rings? 7/8/07 Hey Crew! I have searched the website, but found no definite answer. In my tank, these hair thin worms come out at night in clusters. They come up from the sand in the same spot every night. They are very thin colored pinkish red with small black rings. I am worried that they are some type of parasite that will either harm my fish or coral. If they are harmful, what would be the best way to get rid of them. Thank you very much guys. <No worries. They're most likely some kind of Terebellid polychaete or "spaghetti worm" (highly desirable and fascinating little critters). Each cluster is one worm. Those thin hair-like things are the worm's feeding tentacles. Please give no more thought to getting rid of them and do enjoy them. :) > - R Delaney <Best, Sara M.>

Re: beautiful spaghetti worm 7/9/07 My bad... it's a hair worm, not a spaghetti worm. Sara <Yes. RMF>

Re: Red worms with black Rings? 7/10/07 OK Great! Thank you so much. <No problem. I forgot to say it could also be a "hair worm" (Cirratulid polychaete). It doesn't really matter though. Both kinds of worms are very good to have. :-) Sara M.>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: