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Bristle worm


up to 3 centimeters


yellowish brown


detritus, plankton


no known predators



  • Dut: Slikkokerworm
  • Lat: Polydora ciliata
  • Ger: Gewöhnlicher Polydora-Wurm
  • Eng: Bristle worm
Bristleworms, Sytske Dijksen,

Bristle worm

The bristle worm Polydora ciliata is a small tube worm. It makes short U-shaped tubes from mud. This worm can burrow itself into stones, chalk and limestone, muddy bottoms and even shells. Due to the massive amount of worms living on stones at the foot of dikes around the low-tide waterline, it can be very slippery from the layer of muddy tubes. If the worm is underwater, it will stick out its two thin tentacles to catch food. There are various species of these bristle worms which are practically identical.

  • Distribution and habitat
    Bristleworms, closeup, Sytske Dijksen,

    The bristle worm Polydora ciliata lives on stones on the foot of dikes and piers along the entire North Sea coast. It also lives in soft bottoms and bores itself into mollusc shells.