A colorful bristle worm at night in Palau

 

 

Bristle worm near the surface on a night snorkel in Palau

Bristle worms are

Ok, so I’m probably overemphasizing the worm density in Palau’s inner lagoon waters but I needed to grab your attention. In early April, Coral Triangle Adventures had a chance to explore the various marine environments throughout Palau’s amazing archipelago. During the trip we were able to do a couple of night snorkels during which a plethora of bristle worms showed up. These beautiful, nocturnal polychaetes have adapted to virtually every imaginable marine habitat around the world and we were treated to at least one unidentified species with beautiful iridescent coloration. Bristle worms have a bizarre head, tail, and segmented body with each segment containing spiny bristles. The bristles not only help the animal to crawl and swim but also make it difficult for predators to swallow, though none of us in the water decided to test this attribute.

Big fin reef squid visits during a night snorkel in Palau

Also out at night were Big-fin reef squid. Our lights seemed to mesmerize these gorgeous cephalopods that hovered in shallow water and allowed close inspection of their alien-like morphology. Overall, our night snorkels turned up a lot of interesting marine life that were often out of sight during diurnal hours. We can’t wait to do more night explorations on upcoming CTA trips!

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