Eudistylia vancouveri (Kinberg, 1867)
Common name(s): Feather duster worm, Northern feather duster worm, Parchment tube worm, Plume worm
|Eudistylia vancouveri at Beach #4 near Kalaloch|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, July 2005)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: In Eudistylia catharinae the notopodia of the first few abdominal segments are shorter than the tori of the posterior thoracic segments. In Eudistylia polymorpha the dorsal edges of both lobes from which the radioles originate have a cleft; plus its prostomial cirri are reddigh borwn to maroon and tipped with orange. Other species also do not have the distinctive green and maroon bands on their radioles.
Geographical Range: Alaska to central California
Depth Range: Low intertidal to 20 m
Habitat: Often in large clusters attached to crevices of boulders and bedrock, or on floats or pilings; and on vertical rock faces and surge channels in heavy surf.
Biology/Natural History: Although they do not have large ocelli as found in some other plumeworms, this species is highly light sensitive and will withdraw quickly into the tube if a shadow passes over it. Often anemones are found feeding near the top of the tube. This species may hybridize with Eudistylia polymorpha. Its blood contains chlorocruorin instead of hemoglobin. They can regenerate their radioles if a predator nips them off.
The radioles of members of Family Sabellidae contain a food groove with a stepped cross-section that serves as a size-filter. The smallest particles, which fit in all the way to the bottom of the groove, are usually eaten. Moderate size particles, in the upper parts of the groove, are often glued together to build the tube. The largest particles, too large to fit within the groove, are usually rejected. The radioles are also used for gas exchange (like gills) but the circulatory pattern within them is unusual. Instead of having afferent and efferent vessels, the radioles have a single branchial vessel in each radiole which the blood flows in and out of. Sabellids possess giant nerve fibers running down their body which allows them to retract rapidly into their tube if disturbed.
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Ricketts et al., 1985
Here are several more aggregations at Beach #4. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2006
This underwater photo of Eudistylia vancouveri on a piling shows the plumes fully extended.
Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2008 at Admiralty Beach
An individual on a float at Fidalgo Marina, Anacortes, WA. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2, 2014