Common Name: Fire worm
Scientific Names: Hermodice carunculata
Description: This is a large segmented worm ranging from 10-15cm long and up to 1cm wide. Each segment has a pair of bristles and a pair of paddle-shaped parapodia either side of the body. The main colour of the body is a bluish olive, with white lines marking off the segments, but the base of each parapodium is bright red and the bristles are white.
Distinctive Features:A large segmented worm with bright red and white collections of bristles along its body.
Abundance: Solitary or in small groups when feeding on dead fish for example. Seen on every dive in rocky habitats.
Habitat & Behaviour: Fire worms are found mainly in rocky habitats. They are scavengers and are particularly attracted to carrion such as dead fish or other marine species and often many fire worms will be attracted to such a situation. They are very conspicuous and are clearly not preyed on by the resident fish as they can routinely be seen moving over the surface of the rock.
Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: Indifferent but do not touch.
Maltese Name: Busuf
Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Bob Earll & Luke Adshead