Announcing an Extraordinary Under Water Christmas Tree?
Happy Holidays! Clearly, Christmas trees are a normal part of our Holiday celebration. Now imagine a Christmas tree that lives its entire life underwater! With that said, here’s some very cool and interesting news for you.
These living organisms living under the waves are called Christmas Tree Worms! Scientists first discovered the Christmas Tree Worm and its beauty in 1766. Their awesome looking tree top crown also comes in a variety of fantastic colors. Just about any color you can think of. These living organisms are filter feeder and get nutrition from the water surrounding them. And here’s what’s even more interesting – you can only see the worm’s crown, which happens to be visible in the beautiful shape of a Christmas tree! Christmas Tree worms are not very big at all. In fact, they only average about 1.5 inches in length. But I’m sure you’ll agree, they sure know how to throw out some truly magnificent colors!
The Christmas Tree Worm’s body is hidden within the host coral where it lives. You can usually find several Christmas Tree Worms living in the same area. That’s right – they’re basically sedentary, much like the celebrated Christmas tree, once you put it up and decorate it! Interestingly, the Christmas Tree Worm doesn’t like to move around much, and it prefers to stay in the shaded area of any rocky seascape, out of the sun’s bright rays angling down into the water.
Each worm has two bright colored crowns, which extend up from its tube-shaped body. And their brilliantly colored Christmas tree crowns are actually made of radioles(hair-like appendages growing from the worm’s central spine). The Christmas tree worm uses these appendages to catch its food, which mainly consists of microscopic plants, or phytoplankton, which floats about in the water.
If something swimming nearby startles a Christmas Tree Worm, it quickly disappears into its coral burrow, hiding from any approaching predator. According to a recent study, Christmas Tree Worms “may live for a decade or more (some for more than 40 years), based on counting the annual growth bands in the coral skeleton overlaying polychaete tubes.”
And researchers discovered the Christmas tree worm might actually protect certain types of corals from bleaching. Now that sure is a very good thing!
If you are in Florida and you see a sick or injured manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Robert Scott Thayer