Polychaete?

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Postby dentate » Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:50 am

Hi everyone, I am new here, but Scott encouraged me to upload some photos to help identify this animal. These photos were taken yesterday off the south side of Santa Cruz at a depth of about 45 feet. The first second and third photos are of the same animal, while the first was taken of a different specimen nearby and shows the size better. Both had two crowns emerging from a single tube buried in the sandy bottom, and the crowns were large, about 4 cm in length. Taken with a Canon G11, ISO 400, with flash, f2.3-3.2.

Thanks!

Jeff Schweitzer
Attachments
IMG_0547.jpg
second specimen, near tube anemone and urchin shells
IMG_0545.jpg
IMG_0544.jpg
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Postby Leslie Harris » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:10 pm

Lovely, just lovely. Yes, those are polychaetes. If the tube was brownish & semi-soft they are sabellids, possibly in the genus Bispira. They're among the largest sabellids here. If the tube was white & hard then there were serpulids, maybe in the genus Protula - again, among the largest ones on this coast. You can see why they're called feather dusters. Full id to species & even to genus in most cases requires looking at microscopic characters of the body & the crown (the duster portion) so I can't do better than family, sorry.
Cheers, Leslie
So many worms, so little time
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Postby dentate » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:53 pm

The tubes were brown and semi-soft. You can see the tube a bit in these pictures. Bispira, then? Thanks! Ten years of channel island diving, and I have never seen these before. Then again, I only started photography two years ago. It is amazing how carrying a camera changes your attention to detail down there.

Thanks again,

Jeff
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Postby Leslie Harris » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:46 pm

What I want to know is who put those urchin tests there? I immediately flashed on one of the muppets with funny eyebrows! :lol:
Cheers, Leslie
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