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The Christmas Tree Worm Is the Ocean’s Natural Holiday Decoration

Invertebrates might not celebrate human holidays, but the Christmas tree worm is still the best yuletide decorator on the planet.


It's the most wonderful time of the year, the time to break out all those holiday traditions, like playing the "Charlie Brown Christmas" album on repeat, making a sad attempt at a gingerbread house and heading out into nature to choose your Christmas tree worm.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Jon Connell

Wait, is that last one not a thing?

Well, in the name of conservation and being kind to nature, we should definitely not start picking Christmas tree worms. But take a look at them anyway. Somewhere in this odd benthic creature is inspiration for some Pinterest-worthy crafts.

Just think how perfect this color palette could be for a kitschy, 70s-inspired Christmas village.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Nhobgood

(By the way, that last photo's original caption was "Assortment of worms." Brb, setting that as a Google alert right now.)

Christmas tree worms, otherwise known as Spirobranchus giganteus, are the most — and possibly only — beautiful species of polychaete that nature has to offer. Polychaetes get their name from the many chaete, or bristles, that cover their bodies. Each "tree" is one of two crowns that sit atop a more recognizably worm-shaped body.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Nhobgood

Unless we're the only sickos on the internet, you might be wondering how these worms mate. In fact, they keep it as simple and stress-free as possible, releasing their gametes straight into the water. Watch one worm do just that in this video:

Check our article: Bobbit Worm Video Will Give You Nightmares

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