Creature Feature – Bobbit Worm

Continuing with spooky season, in honour of Halloween, this week’s featured creature is the Bobbit worm! Whilst there may not be any mummies or zombies buried under the seafloor, there are buried worms! These benthic (deep ocean) bristle worms are ambush predators who have been lurking in the sand for over 20 million years.

Bobbit worm

Taxonomy

Scientific Name: Eunice aphroditois

Phylum: Annelida

Order: Eunicida

Family: Eunicidae

Genus: Eunice

Bobbit Worm Fact File

? Size: Individuals can range from < 10cm in length to > 3m long!

? Distribution: They can be found at the bottom of tropic and subtropic bodies of water in the Indo-Pacific and have been found in Bali, New Guinea, the Philippines, Australia, Fiji, and Indonesia

? Diet: This species eats a wide variety of food, from various fish species, but also algae, coral, and decaying matter

? Behaviour: Ambush predators, they burrow into the sand and then shoot out with razor sharp jaws capable of slicing fish in half. Like most of the class Polychaeta (marine worms), bobbit worms are sexually-reproducing organisms that lack external reproductive organs – they reproduce by spawning

? IUCN Status: Not Evaluated. Unfortunately, little is known about the conservation status of this species