Feb 6, 2009

King Ragworm

Isn't that a fantastic name for a novel or a children's story? You're looking King Ragworm in the face. Also known as Nereis virens, or a sandworm, this particular specimen was photographed by Alexander Semenov. Sandworms can get to be as large as four feet long, and are the prey of fishermen, who use them as bait.

The wikipedia article on the King Ragworm is suspect, but supposedly those feet are better referred to as vascularized parapodia, which aid in locomotion, are the principle organs for respiration, and are involved with sexual arousal. Read the article and you'll see why I suspect the author's professionalism and truthfulness. It's hard for a non-biologist like myself to find a site that will describe this creature in layman's terms. Woe is me.

Thanks, Alexander.

Photos by Alexander Semenov


Anonymous said...

Sandworm?! Wait, I'e had training in this! Walk without rythem and you can sneak up on the worm, apparently. However, I'm not touching it once I sneak up on it. I think I'll just yell 'boo'

Anonymous said...

Ugh, you need to add another reaction "Scared!" lol... boy that thing is pretty frightening close up. The far away shot isn't so bad though, almost elegant looking.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid we used to fish with worms like this that we called blood-worms. Not sure if they're the same. Either way, the blood-worms bite and the old man who boxed them at the bait store used to wave them at us kids to scare us. It worked, too, and he definitely got a kick out of it.

Anonymous said...

You are welcome, Wombat =)
This one is my favorite worm. You know, that you can cook this? Just cut out all parapodies, add salt and pepper and fry. Tastes like very bad fish, but this is the food of some island's peoplŠµ

Sara P. Grady said...

These worms will definitely bite you if you harass them - they have two serrated black jaws in their pharynx, and they can evert it ("shoot it out", so to speak) to grab their prey. Unlike the Wikipedia article states, they don't eat seaweed but other small creatures living in the sand.

BTW, the worm that the Anon poster was referring to, the bloodworm, is a different species - Glycera.

morgan said...

Yeah, you definitely need a 'horrifying' category, or something to that effect!