Why wait til December?
Every day can feel like Christmas when on-board MV Oktavia 🙂
The Christmas tree worm (The common name for Spirobranchus giganteus) derives their name from their looks, rather than their diet or habitat preferences.
Each worm has two brightly colored, Christmas tree like, crowns that stick out from its tube body. These crowns are made up of radioles, which are hair-like attachments radiating from the worm’s central spine. The radioles are used for respiration and to fan microscopic plants, or phytoplankton from the water in to the mouth.
These worms don’t move much and will typically stay in one stop once they find a place they like. Most of their body is actually hidden in a burrow while only the colorful crown can be seen by the observer. When startled, they will retract very quickly back into their burrows to avoid any predators. After a few minutes they will tentatively emerge and show off their crowns again.
Christmas tree worms come in many different colours but are only about 1.5 inches in length. You can see them all over the waters of the Similan islands during one of our Similan Islands Liveaboard cruises and will typically be happily planted into pore coral.