A lovely Alitta virens for #wormWednesday this week!

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This exotic-looking annelid worm was actually found off the Scottish coast at St Andrews, and appears in the 1910 Monograph of the British Marine Annelids. Also known as the King Ragworm, this regal creature can grow up to 1.2 metres (4 feet) long! This species was also the first to be shown to use chemical cues from their peers as warnings of nearby predators. While feeding from the sediment, worms reacted more strongly (by reducing their exposure and feeding behaviour) to the scent of other worms than to the scent of the flatfish predators themselves – indicating that the ‘smell’ of damaged worms is more alarming than that of the threatening fishes!

You can see more of the beautiful illustrations of annelids from the Biodiversity Heritage Library here, and read more about the King Ragworm here.

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