Here at Wildsea Europe we believe that nature is truly the number 1 decorator. With its elegant ease, appealing and humbling beauty, we still find ourselves in awe when we discover certain species.
As it is the case with the formidable so-called Christmas tree worms, or the Spirobranchus giganteus. A type of worm that lives in the tropical coral reefs around the world, and also in the Mediterranean Sea coral formations. These worms get this name from its Christmas tree shape. According to an article written by our friends at NOAA:
“Each worm has two brightly coloured crowns that protrude from its tube-like body. These Christmas tree-like crowns are composed of radioles, or hair-like appendages radiating from the worm’s central spine. These appendages are used for respiration and to catch dinner, which typically consists of microscopic plants, or phytoplankton, floating in the water.”
In short and in English, this means that they get this name from…yes, you guessed it, their appearance. It is not because of their habitat: they do not live in one of those Christmas shops. Or their diet: these worms do not indulge in massive amounts of food for an everlasting period, like we seem to do. They do come in a variety of colours, and in sizes no bigger than 1.5 inches.
When approaching their living space, a diver will witness how rapidly these worms get camera shy, since they are very sensitive to disturbances near them. Therefore they will react and hide into the burrow when their tentacles register movement. Luckily, they do no stay hidden very long and again will emerge slowly for anyone to responsibly enjoy the view.
So this is the Ocean´s living Christmas tree, and although you will not find multiple presents under their tiny “branches”, we can ensure that the view of these tiny creatures is more than a gift to the eye.