Sand Mason Worm Lanice conchilega

Sand Mason Worm Lanice conchilega

Class Polychaeta (Bristle worms)
Order Terebellida
Family Terebellidae (Polychaete worms)
Species Lanice conchilega (Pallas, 1766)

Worm length up to 30 cm.

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. Seen all year round, it is found 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. Common and widespread.

Saundersfoot, Wales August 2011. © Peter Hillman