Davy Jones’ Locker is located in the Gulf of Thailand on a paradise island named Koh Tao were here we are fortunate enough to be able to dive all year around in some of the most beautiful waters in the world.
Koh Tao offers scuba divers (beginners to advanced levels) the opportunity to experience diving with a huge variety of marine life.
In the spirit of Christmas below are some facts on one of the many mesmerizing creatures that live in the underwater world that we love to explore every day: Christmas tree worms…
Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus ) are Christmas tree shaped tube-dwelling worms with twin spirals of plumes used for feeding and respiration. They have a tubular, segmented body lined with chaeta, small appendages that aid the worm’s mobility. Because it does not move outside its tube, this worm does not have any specialized appendages for movement or swimming. These worms are sedentary, meaning that once they find a place they like, they don’t move much.
They come in many colors including red, orange, yellow, blue and white and though they are small with an average 3.8 cm in span, they are easily spotted due to their shape, beauty and color always makes an eye-catching display.
Christmas tree worms are found on coral reefs in tropical waters worldwide, in relatively shallow waters less than 30 metres.
Christmas tree worms are polychaete ciliary feeders that feed using their radioles, the hair-like appendages or “feathers” that circle outward from the central spine, to catch phytoplankton floating by in the water. The food is then passed down a food groove by ciliary tracts — lines of tiny hair-like extensions on the surface of cells that generate water currents to move food or mucus. The food particles are sorted and larger particles are discarded. Sand grains are directed to storage sacs to be used later for tube building.
Plumes are also used for respiration. Though the plumes are visible, most of these worms are anchored in their burrows that they bore into live calcareous coral. Christmas tree worms are very sensitive to disturbances and will rapidly retract into their burrows at the slightest touch or passing shadow. They typically re-emerge a minute later, very slowly, to test the water before fully extending their plumes. So if a worm feels threatened, it can withdraw into the hole to protect itself quite easily. For added safety, the Christmas tree worm can also plug its tube with a small plate called an operculum.
There are male and female Christmas tree worms. They reproduce by sending eggs and sperm into the water. The eggs are fertilized in the water then develop into larvae and become part of the zooplankton to be carried by the currents to then settle on coral heads and then burrow into the coral to form their burrows.
As you can see this is just one of the fascinating creatures that we encounter every day here at Davy Jones’ Locker. Feel free to pop in for a visit and we will be happy to share these unforgettable experiences underwater with you.