Facebook Twitter InstagramGoogle+Vimeo youTube

Crystal Dive

 

Contact Us


Koh Tao Diving News
Latest blogs, news articles, Diving Reviews, Updates

.
Crystal Dive > News Archive > 2016 > January 31st
.

 

Christmas Tree Worms

 

The Magical World of Christmas Tree Worms

 

Want to enjoy a little bit of Christmas on your Thailand travels? Then try scuba diving on Koh Tao and we will show you a little creature that look just like a Christmas tree! They might live far away from Lapland, but these colourful worms are full of festive spirit.

 

Christmas Tree Worms - Koh Tao, Thailand

 

These cool little creatures, worms to be precise, stand out amongst the corals due to their magnificent colours ranging from reds, oranges and yellows to greens and blues.

 

One Family - Spirobranchus Giganteus

 

Aptly named Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus), they are commonly found in large groups that have embedded themselves into hard corals such as porties and brain corals. With Koh Tao having an abundance of hard corals you cannot fail to come across them when scuba diving or snorkelling here.

 

Christmas Tree Worms - Koh Tao, Thailand

 

For many new divers on their first dive, whether a discover scuba dive or training dive from the PADI open water course Christmas tree worms contribute to the kaleidoscope of colours that makes up the lasting memory of our first underwater experience. On Koh Tao, we are fortunate to have dive sites such as Aow Leuk and White Rock which have amazing coral patches, all covered in Christmas tree worms.

 

Besides being a cool thing to see when beginning your scuba diving life, Christmas tree worms make great subjects for underwater photography for the more experienced diver.

 

Incredibly Skittish

 

Anyone who has been diving or snorkelling on Koh Tao will tell you that these small creatures are lots of fun to watch. Even though they are small, growing to around 1.5inch/3.8cm they are very easy to spot. They make the reefs so colourful and striking to view and provide divers with some interaction and fun.

 

Incredibly shy and nervous creatures, any sudden water movement close by will cause them to suddenly and quickly retract back into their little holes to hide. After around 30 seconds or so they will slowly re-emerge and stand proud again on the reef. This is easily demonstrated by slowly moving your hand above the Christmas tree worms.

 

Over 8,000 Species

 

The 2 spirals that give the worm its "tree" like appearance are specialised appendages used to catch food. The feather like tentacles called radioles which make up the spirals, trap prey and help to transport it down to the mouth of the worm. Other than using their radioles for filtering plankton for food they are also provide respiration for the worm - similar to gills on a fish.

 

The worms are both male and female, reproduction takes place by both sexes releasing their eggs and sperm accordingly into the sea. These are then taken by the currents and are fertilized by chance out in the open sea. The egg will then land on a piece of coral and then burrow down and secrete their tube.

 

Christmas Tree Worms - Koh Tao, Thailand

 

The worms themselves are classed as Polychaeta worms which are amonst the oceans most common marine animals. There are more than 8,000 species in this class, populating every ocean and at all depth ranges although Christmas tree worms tend to be found in shallow waters. Polcheata worms have been spotted at the bottom of the challenge deep by robotic probes sent to the deepest known point on the Earth.

 

Although generally small worms, most less than 10 cm in length there are known to be some species, including the Bobbit worm that grow into 3m monsters!

 

One of the great things about these creatures is that they are flourishing. Their population is stable and listed as "least concern" on the conservation list. They have few predators to contend with but here on Koh Tao you may catch a triggerfish trying to suck on out of its hidey hole although this is quite a rare occurrence.

 

Christmas Tree Worms - Koh Tao, Thailand

 

Unfortunately, as with most living creatures their main threat comes from human beings and specifically all the pollution we produce. Global warming causes sea temperatures to rise which in turn harms and kills the coral in which these colourful worms live.

 

Christmas All Year Round

 

So, if you're looking for some festive spirit then head for Koh Tao and try scuba diving or go snorkelling. You will be sure to see these colourful creatures, with their natural beauty, that will fill you with Christmas cheer and happiness as you blow bubbles around Koh Tao's dive sites.

 

Author: Neil Davidson (PADI MSDT #294100)

 

.
.
.

 



.

..January 2016

 

Christmas Tree Worms
"These cool little creatures stand out amongst the corals due to their colours. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues...."
31-01-2016
.
'Junkyard' Artificial Reef - 12 Months On
"My first day back on Koh Tao in 8 months. I'm not sure what I was expecting but I certainly wasn't expecting what I saw...."
26-01-2016
.
Scuba Diving A-B-C
"Let's have a look at some of the specifics and break it down so you know what things mean in layman's terms...."
22-01-2016
.
Koh Tao Turtles
"The Koh Tao Turtle Project is using citizen science to track and help identify turtles found around Koh Tao...."
19-01-2016
.
Adventures In Diving
"Now you're a certified PADI Open Water Diver, you probably can’t wait for your next underwater adventure...."
17-01-2016
.
Koh Tao Revisited
"The aim is to complete research that we can hopefully publish, but more importantly share with the world...."
13-01-2016
.
PADI Freediving
"PADI, the world largest scuba diving training agency, made a huge step into freediving world...."
06-01-2016
.

full News Archive >>>

 

About Crystal | PADI Diving Courses | Go Pro | Scuba Diving Internships | PADI Speciality Courses | Fun Diving Trips | About Koh Tao

 

CRYSTAL DIVE
7/1 Moo 2, Koh Tao, 84360, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)77 456106 | +66 (0)77 456107
Fax: +66 (0)77 456105 | Email: info@crystaldive.com