Annelids - Worms and Leeches

Phylum: Annelida

Classes: Polychaeta, Clitellata

This invertebrate phylum includes earthworms, bristleworms, leeches and ragworms. There are over 17,000 species found in a wide range of environments. They can survive in extremes of temperatures from the coldest depths of the oceans to bubbling hot hydrothermal vents.

Peacock featherduster worm

Peacock feather-duster worm, Trinidad

In Trinidad and Tobago annelids are found in virtually all habitats. Earthworms are obviously found in soil and include some large species such as the Megascolex sp. which can be seen or heard in higher areas such as El Tucuche, these worms apparently make a slurping sound as they retreat down their burrows when people approach. In the seas there are many species of annelids in the mudflats, coral reefs and sandy areas. Leeches can be found in freshwater habitats as well as the rainforests.

Fireworms in spirit

Fireworms in spirit

The collections are quite small with only a few specimens in spirit. There are a few earthworms and leeches but most of the specimens are marine polychaetes including the large fireworms commonly found on coral reefs.

For more information on annelids in general go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annelids 

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