|Kingdom Animale | Phylum Annelida | Class Polychaeta|
The segmented worms have bodies divided into similar parts or segments. They form the majority of worm-like animals on the shore.
This characteristic worm is common on reefs, reaching lengths of up to 20cm. They are omnivores. Unlike the related nereid worms, they have only two eyes, not four.
Ragworm or Ballworm
This common worm is caught along the water's edge by squeezing wet bread, green algae (Ulva), a piece of fish or shrimp paste over the sand. As the worms emerge to feed, they are caught between the fingers and gently pulled out. In temperate countries, attempts have been made to mass culture relatives of this worm, for sale to anglers and fishermen. (Length 6-20cm).
Glassworm or Fireworm
This worm burrows in sand and mud under rocks. The body has many lateral tufts of stiff white setae (glass-like hairs) which break off on contact with a soft object causing some discomfort. This animal should not be touched with one's bare hands. It is easily recognised by its pinkish white body. It is a scavenger. (Length 5-10cm).
This is a free-living worm which has two dorsal rows of overlapping scales. It is a scavenger. (Length 1-2cm).
These worms live in thin, parchment-like tubes of their own making which are then attached to hard substrates. The worms are filter feeders, using their long, feathery tentacles on their heads to trap small plankton, which are then directed toward a central mouth. They are retracted into the tube at the slightest disturbance. (Diameter of fan about 8cm).
These tiny tube-dwelling and sedentary worms can be found on rocky, muddy and sandy substrates, forming dense soft mats on the shore. They are filter feeders. (Height of tubes 0.5-1.5cm)
These settle on almost any submerged structure, especially on the ventral surfaces, secreting calcareous tubes around themselves. Each tube also has a cover which can be tightly closed if the animal is threatened. They are filter feeders. These worms are an important component of the fouling fauna. (Length of tubes 5-8cm).
From A Guide to Seashore Life by Dr Leo W H Tan and Peter K L Ng
Published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by BP
@Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre