A reader wrote to us the other day about a unique worm that she found on the beach in Port Aransas, Texas. The worm (or rather, worms – she found several) are covered in what appear to be dozens of small shells. The reader attributed agency to the worm, suggesting that the worm had perhaps “decorated” itself with the shells, much like a decorator crab wraps itself in seaweed to blend in with its surroundings. Many of these strange worms, which were a few inches long on average, were found on the beach, although a few others were found in the water, where they were partially buried in sand. (Presumably, these worms were right by the shore, or else our reader must have been diving to the explore the ocean’s floor.) What are these worms?
A reader asked where one might be able to purchase small, tropical aquatic worms. Presumably this would exclude the giant tube worm, which lives near undersea volcanic vents and can grow to over seven feet in length. However, for the buyer interested in purchasing tropical aquatic worms of the smaller variety, a number of options abound, including flatworms (phylum Platyhelminthes), roundworms (Nematoda), segmented or “fan” worms (Annelida), and arrow worms (Chaetognatha).