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395 Views 1 Reply Last post: Feb 12, 2014 3:50 PM by Florin - Museum ID team RSS
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Jan 7, 2014 3:23 PM

Bioluminescent worms on Scottish beach? ID needed!

Hi,

 

I've just returned from a wonderful trip to Vatersay, south of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. At midnight on New Year's eve my friends and I were on a beach when we noticed tiny green-blue lights flashing in the kelp washed up after high winds. It was a very magical experience! The lights seemed to come from tiny worms (polychaetes?), about 1cm long on the surface of the kelp. I don't know whether the worms lived on the kelp or had just been washed up along with it. The light was sometimes steady and sometimes flashed, and came from a row of light organs along the sides of the worms. Sometimes these lit up like a mexican wave. Kicking the piles of kelp would make them begin flashing. I've attached 2 very poor quality photos. It's the worm in the centre that was flashing but this is not visible in the photo. I have failed to find any clues to what the worms are on Google. Does anyone know?

 

Thanks!

JoshP1200206.JPG
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