Sand Mason Worm Lanice conchilega


Photograph taken August 2011, Saundersfoot, Wales.

Sandersfoot, Wales. August 2011. © Peter Hillman


The Sand Mason Worm fashions a tube made from cemented sand grains and tiny fragments of seashell. It has a frayed edge around the mouth, and can be seen at low tide protruding from the sandy beach.

The worm itself is pink, yellowish or greenish with white tentacles and red gills. It can have up to 300 segments. It may be found solitary or in great masses, and as many as several thousand can be within one square metre.

Common and widespread.


Size
Worm length up to 30 cm

When to see it
All year round.

Where to see it
On exposed and sheltered beaches where it feeds on organic food particles beneath the water via its tentacles which protrude from the top of its protective tube.

Class
Polychaeta (Bristleworms)

Order
Terebellida

Family
Terebellidae (Polychaete worms)