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Christmas Tree Worm Video Stock Footage
Spirobranchus giganteus is similar to most tube-building polychaetes. It has a tubular, segmented body covered with chaetae, small appendages that aid the worm's mobility. Because it does not move outside its tube, this worm does not have any specialized appendages for movement or swimming. The worms' most distinct features are two "crowns" shaped like Christmas trees. These are highly modified prostomial palps, which are specialized mouth appendages. Each spiral is composed of feather-like tentacles called radioles, which are heavily ciliated and cause any prey trapped in them to be transported to the worm's mouth. While they are primarily feeding structures, S. giganteus also uses its radioles for respiration hence, the structures commonly are called "gills."
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