|Image: Philippe Guillaume via Flickr|
AAARRRGGH!! MY HAND! IT HURTS! IT HUUUUURTS!
Thus endeth the lesson.
|Image: alfonsator via Flickr|
Luckily, you don't have to worry about that with the Bearded Fireworm, because they're DEFINITELY venomous. They are polychaetes who have hollow, toxic bristles which are ever so keen to puncture skin. If they get their wish, the intense burning sensation is so intense and burny, they got named after it.
They even look like the pain they inflict! Which is gracious of them. Sort of.
Bearded Fireworms come from rocky areas around the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Most of them scarcely reach 10 cm (4 in) long, but some can get to over 30 cm (a foot) in length.
They spend their time clambering around the rocks in search of food. When threatened, those striking bristles are flared out in a threat display. It makes them look all the more the fluffy and inviting, but this is definitely a case where the more you want to, the more you shouldn't. Think of it as an angry cat with venomous claws. Or a hedgehog who can fire napalm from its spines.
|Image: sniffette via Flickr|
Chomping on the tips
I find it quite endearing. It's nice when a caterpillar tries out toxins and stuff, but it takes a worm to show 'em how it's REALLY done.