What they eat
A ragworm that has woven a net
in a glass tube.
The ragworm is a pronounced predator of small creatures. On the beaches
it consumes large quantities of, for example mud
shrimps (Corophium volutator). Its ability to filter out large
quantities of aquatic microorganisms is of great importance in relation
to the total amount of food it consumes. When it filters, i.e. eats plankton
and such, it digs down into a U-formed tube in the sediment and weaves
a net from the opening and downwards. When the net is finished, a water
current is created through the tunnel and food is caught in the net. After
a while, the ragworm eats the net, where after the whole process is repeated.
Close-up picture of the net.
The ragworm is often preyed upon by other
creatures, i.e. shrimps
which at low-tide can eat as many as between 1400-1500 ragworms.
There are several specie of closely related polychaetae that
appear very similar to the ragworm, e.g. Nereis pelagica and Neanthes
virens. It is difficult for a layman to distinguish between the different
specie, but the species that is commonly found on beaches is the ragworm
Hediste diversicolor. Do
you want to see a ragworm swimming.
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