Bearded Fireworm GALLERY - TOXIC

Hermodice carunculata

A type of Bristle Worm, this member of the segmented worm family  is a voracious carnivore. They seem to be continually on the move looking for their next meal of sea slug, mussels, sea anemones, coral polyps  or other flesh to devour. The worm's gills are what looks like little bushes on each side of the body segment.  I've seen several large Fireworms devouring a freshly killed Lionfish.  When disturbed or feeding the worm flares out its white bristles, a warning to "Stay Away". If touched, the bristles, which are hollow and filled with venom, easily penetrate and break off in your skin. They produce an intense burning irritation at the site of contact.  If you inadvertently come into contact with a Bristle worm, you can use some sort of adhesive tape or duct-tape to remove the bristles and use vinegar or rubbing alcohol to alleviate some of the pain.  See some close-up photos of the Fireworms mouth on the "Cool Stuff" Page

Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata
Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata

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