Bristle Worms

Dr Andy Mackie, Honarary Research Fellow at the Natural History Museum of Wales, gave a beautifully illustrated talk on Bristle Worms in Coastwise's on-going programme of Zoom talks. Not many people in Coastwise are experts on Bristle worms or Polychaetous annelids as they are better known and can probably only name a few like ragworms or lugworms. Andy showed us a glimpse of the fascinating world of worms found on our shores - not all in mud but also under stones and in shells. Some species have common names such as sea mouse or paddleworms but many of the smaller species lack English names. Recent DNA work has shown that many 'species' may be up to 10 cryptic species increasing the complexity. Some worms live in burrows and produce familair wormcasts on muddy sandy beaches and others in hard tubes cemented on to rocks. This diversity was demonstrated in a wonderful set of images and there were several questions afterwards on how these were taken and how you got the worm to stay still.

You can find a recording of the talk at

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