Christmas Tree Worm Life Cycle
The rest of the worm s body is in a tube in the coral which is formed after the larval worm settles on the coral and then the coral grows around the worm the worm s legs parapodia and bristles chatae protected within the tube are about twice as large as the portion of the worm visible.
Christmas tree worm life cycle. When startled christmas tree worms rapidly retract into their burrows hiding from would be predators. There are both male and female christmas tree worms spirobranchus giganteus. These animals are broadcast spawners meaning they shoot their genetic contribution into the.
While many invertebrates reproduce asexually there are actually male and female christmas tree worms. These worms are sedentary meaning that once they find a place they like they don t move much. Life cycle christmas tree worms do not mate but engage in external fertilization.
They reproduce by casting their eggs and sperm into the water. Conservation status comments. As sedentary inhabitants of coral reefs christmas tree worms feed primarily by filter feeding.
Adults burrow a permanent tube in rocky porites and begin their adulthood lives. The second phase begins as they morph into adult form. They use their brightly colored radioles to filter microorganisms from the water which are then deposited straight into the worm s digestive tract.
The christmas tree shape shown in the image is the animal s radioles which can be up to about 1 1 2 inches in diameter. In fact while the colorful crowns of these worms are visible most of their bodies are anchored in burrows that they bore into live coral. When the worm retreats into its tube the opening is shut using an operculum which is further protected by sharp antler shaped spines.
Male and female worms release their sperm and eggs into the water column. The colorful life span of christmas tree worms are distinctly dependant on their habitat. There are both male and female worms which produce their gametes within their abdominal segments.
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