Nature Blog Network

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Now that's a worm

Ok, there are bigger ones out there, but "Barry" was living in a marine aquarium at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium in Cornwall, England. Unknown to the aquarists and visitors Barry sneaked in, probably with a shipment of "live rock" (I really don't like that misnomer) a common invasion vector for bristle worms, and ruled the roost as it were, growing to a remarkable 4 feet long. Barry fed on the corals and fish of it's aquarium. After being coralled by aquarists, Barry now has his own tank at the aquarium where everyone can revel in the beauty of marine polychaetes!

The original Daily Mail posting stoops to the, unfortunately too familiar, derogatory epithet of "Monster". They also point out repeatedly that the bristles can be quite a pain and even cause numbness if you get a little too personal with them. I guess it's fortunate that they didn't comment on the hyper cool, but horror movie inspiring, evertable pharynx and the jaws which look awfully like giant fangs.

Personally I would love to see Barry firsthand.


  1. We used to collect lots of ragworms on undergrad field work in Cornwall. They weren't terribly amused at being confined in plastic trays. You could hear the jaws clicking from across the room.

    And these guys were only as long as your hand ... Scale that up and the sound of Barry's jaws would crack glass.

  2. Every year the sophmore undergraduates do an experiment on osmoregulation that involves our local Nereis virens as their first intro to marine bio lab. Lot's of fun and the jaws often come out, especially when they go turgid. One of may favorite labs actually, drop dead simple and very revealing.

  3. Worms are neat. I remember Steve Weast found a Eunicid worm in his aquarium a few years ago. I found the link: Thing was SEVEN FEET LONG.


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