Grow up to 1m
Long elastic white feeding tentacles extending from rocks or coral. Body encased in a tube and "cement" produced by glands. Retractable tentacles are lined with hairlike cilia extending from mouth and spreading across the substrate. Tentacles are retractable when disturbed.
Body not usually seen, just long white tendrils poking out from crevaces in coral. Terebellids are deposit feeders noted for their extremely extensible tentacles; the length of these allows them to scour detritus a considerable distance away from their bodies without coming to harm.
Usually feed at night. Diet consists largely of diatoms and other planktonic microorganisms (e.g. foraminiferens and coccolithophores).
Tentacles may produce distasteful metabolites which prevents predation by Wrasses etc.
Terebellids as a family are gonochoric, and generally have lecithotropic larvae (i.e. larvae that are short-lived and survive by consuming yolk) that are externally fertilized .
In laboratory conditions, egg production occured exclusively at night, and followed an approximate lunar periodicity. Males did not necessarily wait for the presence of a female to emit sperm and females were observed to release eggs without males in the vicinity. It is not known whether this behavior is maladaptive, serves some unknown function, or was due to the unnatural laboratory conditions in the study. However, all sperm and eggs were released in a 2-week window, following which both males and females abruptly terminated the ejection of gametes.
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