worms Marine worms often do not look like worms at all. On
land most visible worms are roundworms (Drilo spp), but in the sea
one finds segmented worms, flatworms and others. The segmented worm is
the most advanced, as fish and higher order animals evolved from it.
f050211: the parchment worm (Chaetopterus variopedata)
has suddenly spread far and wide as our seas became overnourished. It is
easily confused with the sand fanworm but has a thin, tapering tube ending
in a narow white funnel. The animal sits well back from this opening.
f025805: a parchment worm peeled out of its tube, shows what
a complicated animal it is with its many functional legs. The ones in the
middle are used for fanning (pumping) water through the tube. Between the
mouth on left and the black middle, it spins a slime bag with which it
continuously catches plankton. See indepth02.
f050625: the sand fanworm (Sabella sp) has a long
tube that often goes too deep to be dug up. It never opens up fully, keeping
it cup-shaped as shown. Its tube is rubbery and narrows into a slit when
the animal has withdrawn deeply into its tube. It must be a strong burrower,
as it extends its tube deeper and deeper while growing.
f050827: the purple sand fanworm (Branchiomma sp)
lives in clear, exposed coarse sand and does not open up symmetrically,
one side higher than the other. It is also oval in shape. This is a very
shy fanworm with an eye at the end of each feather.
f018912: an unidentified double-crowned tubeworm, perhaps
related to Pomatocerus. (Pomatoceros terranovae?) The white
dots and spirals on the rock are Spirorbid tube worms. These tube
worms are also called keelworms for the sharp keel on their tubes.
f960311: toothed chalky fanworm (Pomatocerus caeruleus,
Spirobranchus cariniferus) [toke pa] has two blue fans protected by
a hard and very sharp tooth. It is the main cause of lacerations to wetsuits
f019026: a transparent ragworm (Flabelligera affinis).
f050425: ten-tentacled ragworm (Dodecaceria sp.)
proboscis worm (Saccoglossum otagoensis) is a 1.5cm
small worm found from Wellington southward. Its mouth has a collar from
it extends a red proboscis or tongue.
f051616: red segmented bristleworm or ragworm or sea centipede
novaehollandiae) [weri moana] is a fierce predator of small organisms
like amphipods and shrimps. But it fears many predators.
f051622: red bungee worm (Amphitrite rubra) is a bristleworm
that burrows into the sand from where it extends its many red tentacles
over the surface, drawing whatever it can find towards its mouth. The red
tentacles can extend far out, resembling bungee cords when retracting.
f017217: nodulose flatworm (Thysanozoon brochii)
free swimming. Found on the east coast of the North Island.
f039531: speckled flatworm (Stylochoplana sp.) crawling
with ease over difficult terrain. It can swim quite purposefully and elegantly.
f032519: speckled flatworm swimming freely. In this picture
one sees the thin hollow green filaments of the gut alga (Enteromorpha
intestinalis). The green algae on left are one of the sea lettuce species
Cnidaria or flower animals The cnidaria have many diverse forms, like jellyfish,
sea gooseberries, sea pens, anemones, corals and hydrozoa. We'll also include
the bryozoa or polyzoa here. All have stinging cells with which they can
stun and catch prey, even though many cannot punch through a human skin.
The cnidaria have a single internal cavity (stomach) and a mouth surrounded
by stinging tentacles. Food enters through the mouth and wastes are expelled
through it. Many cnidaria are able to secrete a hard skeleton (corals,
0608213: olive actinia anemone (Isactinia olivacea)
likes to live in the burrows of piddock shells, and any place where it
can withdraw fully. It is common on the West Coast where its colour is
usually brown but it is also found in emerald green.
f019331: red actinia or beadlet anemone (Isactinia tenebrosa)
[kotare moana] lives under high tide level where it is threatened by pollution
but it can still be numerous on remote islands. It prefers the shaded sides
of vertical rock faces. When exposed, it has its tentacles withdrawn, looking
like a glistening dark brown blob. It is also called beadlet anemone for
the round beadlets between tentacles and stem. Up to 40mm.
f050326: speckled camouflage anemone (Oulactis mucosa)
is almost invisible because of its camouflaging colours. In closeup it
shows an extravagant display of rainbow colours. In the South Island it
is much larger, often with a red oral disc. This anemone is often camouflaged
in shell fragments and pebbles, stuck to its column.
f960327: mud anemone (Anthopleura aureoradiata) is
a small anemone living in narrow cracks. It is also found on burrowing
clams like cockles. It has green plant cells in its tissues that convert
solar energy to food. Its column is rough with warts.
Anthopleura aureoradiata: warts large and fused at
the top of the column, disappearing at the base. Small 10-30mm. Brown and
white and yellow markings. Common on mud flats and tide pools.
Anthopleura inconspicua: white or pink column, tentacles
brown and white with pink or orange bands.
Anthopleura rosea: pink tentacles, disc white to pink,
column cream or orange.
Anthopleura minima: dark red column, tentacles and
disc brown and white with pink spherules. Common in mussel beds.
Diadumene neozelanica is a brown anemone with a white/brown
striped column, brown tentacles and red mouth. South Island.
the brooding anemone (Cricophorus nutrix) is
a small 15mm anemone found on large brown algae. It usually has a brown
smooth column with thin brown tentacles. Oral disc iridescent or variously
coloured. Mouth border pink, green or white. The young are carried in an
external brood pouch.
the jewel anemone (Corynactis haddoni) has transparent
tentacles with knobbed ends. It reproduces by splitting, creating carpets
of identical clones. See our tribute to the jewel anemone with many images
Epiactis thompsoni is a medium to large wandering
anemone with red and white stripes on its column. Its tentacles are arranged
in cycles, coloured dull green brown or grey, with mauve or pink tips.
Oral disc is red or red-brown. South Island.
f981812: a West Coast rock pool full of colourful sand dahlias
magna, Isocradactis magna). These giant shore anemones can grow large
and in many colour variations - white, grey, blue, purple, pink, yellow,
0608214: sand dahlia (Oulactis magna) can live in
highly exposed places. With sticky tubercles on its stem it holds shell
fragments to protect itself from being sand-blasted.
f021313: white-tentacled anemone (Actinothoe albocincta)
is the most common anemone below low tide where it can form solid patches
of cloned individuals. However, it is not common on the intertidal even
though it can stand rough water. On closer inspection its column has perforations
surrounded by tiny suckers. This clump of anemones is growing over a warty
seasquirt (Microcosmus kura), not visible.
f050633: with its tentacles withdrawn, the white-tentacled
anemone looks like a striped yellow/green blob. When annoyed, it shoots
stinging threads from its stem, that can inflict painful stings, itching
for weeks. An overdose of stings can lead to a serious traumatic condition.
f052237: Actinothoe albens is a white anemone with
a smooth column and no suckers on its column.
f027219: Phlyctenactis tuberculosa, [kotore moana]
the large wandering anemone has corn-like tubercles on its extensible column.
It feels very soft to the touch and its column won't sting. It is found
in calm waters where it wanders from seaweed to seaweed. It mainly comes
out at night to catch nocturnal zooplankton, or it reaches down to sweep
the sea bottom. Its column is highly variable in colour: pink, mauve, grey,
green, brown, orange.
f049433: fan coral (Flabellum rubrum) [pungatea] forms
a hard limestone cup with ribs inside, into which the animal can withdraw.
By night it extends its tentacles to catch zooplankton. Its colours are
orange, red and pink. It is a NZ native animal.
f019018: two encrusting colonies of bryozoa (mats) vying
for space. Bryozoa are the smallest of flower animals and they are often
not clearly visible. Each lives in a tiny box and has a lid to close it
once withdrawn inside.
f032515: a bryozoan mat is often almost impossible to distinguish
from a carpet sponge. The beige mat top left is a bryozoan mat whereas
the red mat in the lower right is a carpet sponge.
Hydroids are cnidaria that form thin stalks from which the
polyps sprout. Many are almost transparent and small.
the mussel beard (Amphisbetia bispinosa) [kawekawe]
is a colonial hydroid, golden brown in colour and usually found on greenlipped
Sponges Sponges are colonies of single-celled individuals organised
into recognisable shapes with often unique colours. They can have many
shapes: carpets, blobs, trees, vases, pipes and so on. Most sponges do
not prefer to live in the intertidal and all like to be submerged most
or all of the time. Sponges grow only slowly and most are not capable of
competing with plants, so they are found in dark places and in deep water.
Many sponges can grow very old.
f033724: the pink golfball sponge (Tethya ingalli)
likes to live in bright light. In fact, it does not survive long without.
Here it has formed tentacles ending in knobs which are splitting off to
form new sponges.
f050216: the golden golfball sponge (Tethya aurantium)
[porotaka moana] can also live in the light but on the rocky shore it is
found in dark places underneath large boulders. This is a native sponge.