My Feather Duster Worms
Feather Duster Worm Photos
I wish I had time to write about the various species and types of feather duster worms. Instead, I will just tell you about mine.
I have a page on freshwater and terrestrial worms on this page.
One of the first hitch hikers I found in my tank was a little brown feather duster hanging underneath my first ever zooanthid colony. I would later find half a dozen small white feather dusters on another zooanthid colony (one with green polyps and orange zooanthids) as well as hanging below a later brain coral. I became enamored with my feather dusters. I wanted to get a "real" one.
On 9/27/08, a pink dwarf feather duster worm arrived in the mail from Live Aquaria. It looked like a smushy stick about four inches long. Half way down, there was a hole in the tube with some brown gunk hanging out of it. It was firmly attached to the tube so I left it. I do not know if that is normal for feather duster worms or not. I know they are supposed to be able to attach themselves to substrate, rock, etc. in time. While drip acclimating for 1.5 hours, Dusty came out of his tube. It was the opposite end than I expected! Dusty's feathers (gills?) are about an inch across. There are two layers, an outer and inner ring of feathers. He is very beautiful. It took a few tries over the first day to find a spot where he would sit still and not be moved by the current. Dusty is doing well.
Attached to the rock that the dead sun coral was on were two white, hard tubes. I figured they were feather dusters or tube worms which they are but was surprised when I saw them open. They look like tiny versions of my pink dwarf feather duster, Dusty! They have pink stripes. Did Dusty have babies? How exactly does asexual reproduction work in feather dusters? Dusty's tube is brown and smushy, not white and hard but maybe the babies are different. The feathers on the two babies are remarkably large for their size.
Dusty was doing very well until 2009 when he stopped opening as often. I last saw him open the first week of 2009. On 1/15/09, his body fell out of the crevice that he was in, and there is no doubt that poor Dusty has died. I do not know why.
The baby feather dusters are small and pink but they are not the same species as Dusty was. Dusty's body was mushy brown while the little ones have hard, white tubes.
I ordered a yellow dwarf feather duster that was supposed to arrive on 10/24/09 but, instead, they sent me seven banded trochus snails that I did not order and had to give away! So, I did not get another feather duster.
Photos are listed from oldest to newest. There are photos of my reef on my reef photos page. Some of those photos also show the feather dusters. I did not include all of those here on this page.
From the 12 gallon tank:
Close-up of the two little feather duster worms growing on the zooathid colony on 6/13/08.
Zooanthids plus the two feather duster worms that are growing on the colony on 6/13/08.
Feather duster worm - this is a better photo of the largest feather duster that is under my oldest zooanthid colony. He is in the left of the photo and fully open, 6/16/08.
Tube Worm - on the dead clam in the 6 gallon tank, 8/9/08. The white tube was laid down by the worm over time which is sticking out the end of the tube in this photo. I am not sure if it is the same as a feather duster but they tend to have very short tubes (or rather my small hitchhiker feather dusters do).
These two photos of my new pink dwarf feather duster worm, Dusty, on 9/27/08 are not in
This photo of Dusty from 9/28/08 is better:
This photo from 11/30/08 was an attempt to get a photo of the two baby feather dusters that
might be Dusty's babies. Arrow's point to their open crowns. Dusty also is in the photo on the
In this photo from 4/26/12 of a red zooanthid colony, you can see an open feather duster on the
left of the colony:
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