Taxonomy Tuesday: Rockworm

Taxonomy Tuesday: Rockworm

Dig in the soft mud around an oyster reef or dock piling, and you might find a foot-long rockworm.

This marine worm (Marphysa sanguinea) burrows in the seafloor and can grow up to 15 inches long. Its long, segmented body has an iridescent sheen to it, and attached to many segments is a feathery set of pinkish gills. Rockworms are omnivorous, eating whatever plant or animal debris they encounter. They live in warm waters all over the globe.

This specimen was collected in Charleston Harbor and photographed by the Southeastern Regional Taxonomic Center (SERTC) at our Marine Center.

See more images from SERTC's collections here.

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