Wednesday 1 February 2017

Red-spotted Horseshoe

Image: Alfiero Brisotto
Protula tubularia
Surely, it's a peacock?

Image: Wolljuergen
It has to be a bird-of-paradise. Hasn't it?

Nope. It's a worm. You can tell it's a worm from the, erm... from the feathers.

Image: Wolljuergen
That's why it's also known as the White-tufted Worm...

Although they aren't always particularly white. They can be orange, too, or almost as red as their red spots.

Red-spotted Horseshoes are found in temperate waters all over the place, from the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic in North America and even as far afield as New Zealand.

They each live in a little calcerous tube that can reach something like 8 cm (3 in) long. The worm lives there all its life and uses that beautiful, horseshoe-shaped crown of feathery tentacles to catch their tiny crumbs of food.

Image: Manuel Sánchez-Mateos Paniagua
At the slightest, unfamiliar sound or shadow, those feathers will instantly disappear into the tube.

Look, don't touch!

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