Hairy Gilled Worm


 
INTRODUCTION          

The hairy gilled worm, or Neoamphitrite robusta ("nee oh amph ih TRY tee row BUST ah"grows to a length of 150mm  and width of 13mm. It can be identified in the field by its color, a reddish pink, which distinguishes it from similar species. The easiest method of positive identification is to look through a strong magnifying glass at the small hook-like setae or hairs on the back end of it's body. N. robusta has two closely spaced rows of setae which look something like the teeth of a zipper!

Appearance

The hairy gilled worm grows to a  length of 15cm and is quite wide at the front.  It can be tentatively identified in the field by its reddish brown  color,  branching (red) gills and thick mud tube.   However, there are several similar species.  And we are not altogether sure about the image to the right.  

The most characteristic feature of  this species and family relatives is the numerous long writhing tentacles.  Can you guess why another name is the medusa worm?

Hairy gill worm

 

Drawing by Iris Churcher,

Malaspina University-College

 

Pretty attractive for a worm

 

Photo by Dave Denning,

Salt Spring Island, B.C.

This species has no eyes but it is closely related to species that do. It is probably light sensitive.  The receptors for touch are located on the tentacles.