The worm will turn: a tale of a (large) marine polychaete


I stumbled across this creature whilst reading The Other 95% (a fantastic blog documenting the oddities of invertebrate life). As Eric points out, “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.” Have a read through the original newspaper article below (with slightly dramatic headline “Barry the giant sea worm discovered by aquarium staff after mysterious attacks on coral reef“).

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.

After staking out the display for several weeks, the last resort was to completely dismantle it, rock by rock. Halfway through the process the predator was revealed as a four-foot polychaete worm. Staff eventually lured it out with fish scraps, but not before it bit through 20lb fishing line.

Matt Slater, the aquarium’s curator, said: ‘Something was guzzling our reef but we had no idea what, we also found an injured Tang Fish so we laid traps but they got ripped apart in the night.

‘That worm must have obliterated the traps. The bait was full of hooks which he must have just digested.’

He added: ‘It really does look like something out of a horror movie. It’s over four feet long with these bizarre-looking jaws.

2 thoughts on “The worm will turn: a tale of a (large) marine polychaete

  1. What I love is this readers comment below the article from the DailyMail in the UK… “It’s gross, they should get rid of it permanently. What possible use is its existence? none, I suspect.” Obviously an educated reader! Excuse the sarcasm.

  2. Pingback: Climate Shifts » Climate Shifts » Spring Cleaning

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