Can Anyone Identify This Possible Worm?

by David Gottlieb

Unidentified Creature

Unidentified Creature

Can anyone help me identify this creature I found snorkeling in St John, USVI? I believe it may be a worm of some sort. I was in water 3 feet deep.

Thank you.

Comments for Can Anyone Identify This Possible Worm?

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Dec 28, 2015
by: Cary Bennett

I think it may be a White Lined Ribbon Worm. I based this off the book I bought last year before we went to Fiji and Tonga, "Reef Creature Identification, Tropical Pacific." Granted, it is a Pacific ID book, however, I have found that many, many ocean critters have their analogs in other oceans, and even starting with an ID from the Pacific, you can then go hunting for similar or even identical species in the Caribbean. In any case, I am almost certain that this is a Ribbon Worm of some description.

Dec 28, 2015
Mystery Worm
by: John

I believe it's a sea cucumber - Chiridota heheva, although I must admit, I have never seen one with this one's white protrusion.

Dec 28, 2015
Mystery Worm - Part II
by: John

What was the approximate size of this worm? The sea cucumber I mentioned is somewhat similar in appearance but much larger than the ribbon worm.

Dec 28, 2015
Where in St. John?
by: Steve N

Where in St. John were you snorkeling?

Could be some type of species or a sub-species of a sea cucumber?

Dec 28, 2015
by: Cary Bennett

I considered holothurian (sea cucumber) as well at first, however, the appearance at the "front" end, appeared to me to be more that of a worm because it appears to actually have a head with mouthparts. A holothurian lacks this feature. The ribbon worm is in the family Lineidae.

Jan 02, 2016
We will weigh in....
by: Nicole & Galen

Hi David, that creature is not in any of our normal resources for creature identification. But based on the two ideas presented above, we lean toward John's assessment that it is possibly the sea cucumber - Chiridota heheva. Here is a link to a picture we found of that species. It is not perfect as the longitudinal stripes are not present. But the mouth end seems to be similar. Unfortunately there is not a ton of info out there about it.

We don't think it is a ribbon worm. From the pictures we have seen they are too long and narrow. The main picture we are comparing it to is the Red & White Striped Ribbon Worm in Reef Creature Identification Florida Caribbean Bahamas, by Humman and Deloach.

Anyone else?

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