Tube worm

Tube worm
Image: Mark Norman / Museums Victoria
Community type

Sessile reefs organisms

Habitat type

Rocky reefs, kelp beds and inter-tidal zone

This fascinating worm remains stationary throughout its life, building a leathery tube around its body using mucus and sand. The spectacular feathery crown of tentacles is used to catch passing food from the water, and move food towards the central mouth. Some can grow up to 10 cm long. The tentacles also act as gills, allowing the worm to source oxygen from the surrounding water. The worm itself can move up and down inside the tube, gripping it with small bristles. When threatened, the worm is able to completely withdraw its delicate tentacles into the tube.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.