December 01 – Guess who

This morning we unzipped the first door on our outdoor ADVENTure calendar! Binoculars in hand we spotted the following festive red and white creature (these are somewhat super binoculars)…

To find out what this mysterious creature is, scroll on.

December 1st.png

(Photo by Nick Hobgood)

This little beauty is a Spirobranchus giganteus, or the very aptly named ‘Christmas Tree Worm’. A marine species it is found in tropical oceans across the world (I did say these were good binoculars). In the full picture below you can see the pair of crowns that give the worm it’s festive common name.

Spirobranchus_giganteus_(Red_and_white_christmas_tree_worm).jpg

These crowns are for respiration and catching microscopic plants and phytoplankton to feed on. Not all crowns have such a true Christmas colouring, but can be found in many bright combinations. The rest of the worm remains hidden, burrowed in the coral below. Christmas tree worms are sedentary, and when startled will rapidly retract their crowns. A delight to see when diving around this stunning species.

Congratulations if you guessed right!

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