This is a picture of a worm. Certainly not the everyday earth worm we see on sidewalks after a rain, but a marine worm called Serpula vermicularis, or serpulid worm. They are abundant under the T-Pier, but are difficult subjects to photograph. At the slightest disturbance, they jet back into their hard calcareous tube which is then capped by the funnel shaped operculum to prevent predators from entering. One often gets only one shot at this beautiful animal. We find them attached to a hard surface, often the pier pilings, a rock or the metal debris under the pier that quickly becomes infiltrated with marine life. When they are open, they are filtering food as the current flows through their branchial crown which consists of 40 pairs of plumes. The crowns are often gaudily colored and seldom alike. This is my favorite because its colors, like my alma mater, USC, are cardinal red and gold.

                                                                                                               Gary Powell

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