Wild Harris

Peacock Worm

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This animal lives in a tube about 10cm long. The base of the tube is attached to a stone or other hard object, and they are often found growing on mooring ropes. Their delicate tentacles are unsuited to violent wave action however, so these worms are usually found in sheltered locations. Emerging from the end of the tube is a spectacular bunch of delicate tentacles that look a bit like a ring of feathers. These are often brightly coloured, and allow the worm to feed by catching food particles suspended in the water. The worm is very sensitive to water movement Ð as soon as it senses a potential predator approaching it retracts the tentacles faster than the blink of an eye, emerging again only when it senses the danger has passed.

peacock worm in sand.jpg(Photo: Paul Tyler)

The tentacles are soft and delicate, but can be retracted into the worm's tube faster than the eye can follow.

Peacock fan worm.jpg(Photo: Sue Scott)

Many peacock worms have brightly coloured tentacles, which slightly resemble a peacock's tail.

by Paul Tyler

Link to Shore Animals

Link to Soft Seabed Animals