Cirratulus cirratus has a long, slender, orange, pinkish or brownish-red body, with 75 to 130 segments, and can reach 12 cm in length. The head is a blunt cone with a row of 4 to 8 large black eyes either side that may meet on top of the head. There are two groups of up to 8 feeding tentacles on the first segment. Pairs of long slender gills arise at intervals from the whole length of the body and these appear as a mass of reddish threads when the worm is buried.Cirratulus cirratus is usually found in aggregations of up to 200 individuals. During the breeding season their colour changes, the females become bright yellow and the males white.
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