step on the tubeworms!
are not plant roots or bits or rubbish. These are tubes
made by worms! And that patch that looks
like a shaggy carpet are actually made up of tiny tubes of worms.
What are worms?
Worms are animals!
are important to the habitat
you know what a worm looks like?
Some worms on our shore look very different from the worms we
are more familiar with.
marine worms have bristles
on the sides of their bodies. These bristles may poke you
and may have toxins so don't touch them.
worms have a feathery fan on their heads: like fanworms
worms are very long! The Giant
reefworm can reach 1m long or more!
worms are very flat, like the flatworms
do worms live on a shore?
live under stones or coral rubble.
are buried in the sand or mud. Sometimes, they leave a worm
cast on the surface.
build tubes for themselves: tubeworms.
the big worms that you can see, there are countless tiny worms,
some of them smaller than a grain of sand, all over the shore!
have toxic bristles.
are delicate and will be hurt if you handle them.
- Many animals
love to eat worms. Can you think of animals that would eat
worms? Some charismatic animals to highlight: shorebirds,
Where to find worms Many hide under stones and rocks,
others may be crawling about in the open, some large ones hide
in crevices in coral rubble. Yet others build tubes which are
obvious at low tide.
When looking under a stone be gentle. Return the stone to
the same position after you have shown it. Do this gently so
that you don't crush the animals.
Don't step on the worms They are delicate living animals.
Don't dig up or scrape off worms. Use diagrams or photos
included in a guidebook if you have to show them internal features
of a worm or tube. If you really HAVE to, only use tubes that
have washed ashore.
Don't touch: Many worms can bite or have toxic bristles
or other protection.