Comprehensive Description

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The orange fringed worm, Cirratulus grandis, is a small benthic polychaete. Like other worms belonging to the phylum Annelida, the orange body of C. grandis is divided into numerous segments. The majority of the worm is usually concealed within a borrow beneath the sediment, while long yellow to whitish feeding tentacles and gills attached to the anterior portion of the body are exposed on the sediment surface (Ruppert & Fox 1988). The feeding tentacles resemble the gills in appearance, except for the presence of a ciliated groove used to transport particles to the mouth (see 'Trophic Mode' below). In addition to the gills near the head, each segment of the body bears fine gill filaments that extend into the surrounding sediment for gas exchange. When disturbed, the worm retracts all exposed tentacles and gills into the burrow for protection.Regional Occurrence & Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Distribution: Little information is available concerning the distinct range and distribution of C. grandis. However, the species has been cited as occurring along the east coast of the United States, as far north as New England. In the IRL, the species ranges throughout the lagoon in muddy and sandy sediments.

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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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