In an attempt to add some Christmas cheer to todays blog post, the featured image is of a Christmas Tree Worm (Spirobranchus giganteus) peering out from its burrow in a rock close to Pelican Point, Crocus Bay Anguilla. The protruding structures belong to a quite fascinating looking worm species, who uses they head appendages to filter feed for prey. They are extremely sensitive to movement however, with even the most gentle approaches producing sufficient disturbance for the worm to instantly retreat back into its rocky safe place. This makes them much harder to photograph than one might think based on the millions of images there are of these online. Give it a try. Believe me it takes some patience! The best way is to get close, let the worm retreat, hold your position very still, and wait for as long as it takes for the worm to re-emerge. It can take a while, but the result will be worth it.
As a digression for the nerds out there, this species was used as inspiration in the movie Avatar, along with jellyfish, anemones and other sea creatures. It really did highlight James Camerons love of SCUBA diving and the under sea world. Nice.
Update – Now posted to Instagram @sea_anguilla. Enjoy