Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Barry the Giant Reef-Eating Worm (Sounds Cooler than Polychaete Worm)

"Barry the giant sea worm discovered by aquarium staff after mysterious attacks on coral reef"
Mail Online (March 31, 2009)

"Aquarium staff have unearthed a 'giant sea' worm that was attacking coral reef and prize fish.

"The 4ft long monster, named Barry, had launched a sustained attack on the reef in a display tank at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium over recent months.

"Workers at the Cornwall-based attraction had been left scratching their heads as to why the coral had been left devastated and - in some cases - cut in half...."

The article calls Barry a "four-foot polychaete worm" - which is accurate enough, but doesn't narrow things down all that much. There are thousands of species of polychaete worms.

Polychaete means "means 'many-bristled'" - and they're found around the world. Aside from the bristles, this sort of worm has an unusually well-developed head. (Guide to the Marine Zooplankton of south eastern Australia) And, in the case of Barry's sort of polychaete worm, quite effective jaws.

The Mail Online article is fairly light reading, intended as much to entertain as to inform: but it's a reasonably good writeup of how Barry was found - and his current living accommodations.

More:
  • "Polychaete Larva"
    Guide to the Marine Zooplankton of south eastern Australia, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts, Australian Antarctic Division, Australian Government

2 comments:

BNS said...

Amazing. I've encountered many a polychaete worm while diving, but I've never seen the likes of Barry. (And I'm glad!)

Bobbie

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

BNS / Bobbie,

Me, too. Besides size, Barry's got quite an appetite.

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