Victorian marine worm I.D.

July 3, 2016 | Posted in: Coastal species, intertidal zone, Marine invertebrates, Worms

Early April 2016, we received an email message with the subject heading “Possible new species”. The message read (in part), “I was just went down Shoreham Beach with my family for a walk through the reef and stumbled across a strange creature. We were able to get a good quality video of it and thought I could send to you. We have previously sighted it three years ago at Mushroom Reef but wasn’t able to get it to any professionals. It was seen eating a crab and is safe to hold. . . . . .William (and Georgina) Wallis”

William had attached some video footage to his message for us.

I suggested to William that the specimen in his video footage could be a Terebellid worm (Family Terebellidae), saying “It seems to be one of two species –

Hauchiella tribullata or Reteterebella aloba.

See page 97 of A field guide to the marine invertebrates of South Australia. Both species occur in SA. Hope that this helps.”

William’s response was, “Thanks, Steve! I searched up some images of both the Hauchiella tribullata and the Reteterebella aloba but they vary so much in shape and colour it’s impossible to tell, but what really surprises me is the fact I made a small mistake sending to MLSSA as Shoreham lies in Victoria (apologies) but this is really valuable information. Thanks again!”

I then asked William whether or not both species were still a possibility. His response was, “Yep, both are as possible as each other.” He went on to say, “The Shoreham Beach that I am talking about is just near Balnarring and Flinders (Victoria).

We have posted the video footage of the worm at https://1drv.ms/v/s!AptZwqUs2pz0izbIouwrk_0K9-1J . Links were also posted on our Facebook page & Twitter.

We managed to lift this low resolution snapshot of the worm from the video footage: –

Snapshot 1 (7-3-2016 6-54 PM)

A low resolution snapshot of the worm from the video footage

Our thanks go to William & Georgina for sending the video footage and details of their discovery.

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society’s extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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