Officially called the spirobranchus giganteus, these Christmas tree worms are some of the most festive creatures on the planet. When they burrow into coral and spread their colorful crowns, they bear a striking resemblance to the bright and spectacular trees that so many families put up around this time of the year!
Their crowns are made up of radioles, which are hairlike appendages that stem from the spine. Aren’t they beautiful?
And they serve a practical purpose.
The appendages are used for respiration, and most importantly of all, for catching dinner.
That dinner typically consists of microscopic plants called phytoplankton.
They lead pretty sedentary lives.
In fact, once they burrow into the coral, they never leave.
This allows them to hide in the reef as soon as they sense a predator.
Practicality aside, they’re just pretty to look at!
They bring a little holiday cheer to the ocean floor.
If you want to see one in action, check out the video below:
For these creatures, the Christmas spirit really is a feeling that lasts for the entire year! If only we could figure out a way to do that ourselves…