The Atlantic

Under the Sea in a Ragworm's Garden

A leggy marine creature may be a one-of-a-kind underwater planter.
Source: Courtesy of Jim Van Belzen

Looking for a little hideaway beneath the waves? Until you find an octopus’s garden, maybe you can make do with a garden tended by a worm.

Hediste diversicolor, also known as the common ragworm, is a leggy marine critter about four inches long. It spends its one-to-three years of life burrowed below marshy coasts along the northern Atlantic, avoiding the animals that would like to eat it. The ragworm, in turn, feeds on whatever it can reach without leaving home. Sometimes it casts a delicate web of mucus across the opening to its burrow, waits a while, then eats

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min read
The Tiny Fish That Break a Fundamental Rule of Vertebrate Life
By living fast and getting eaten in extreme numbers, these overlooked critters fuel the food webs that allow vast communities to flourish in coral reefs.
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
Impeachment Is A Refusal To Accept The Unacceptable
The Atlantic5 min read
Even in Parts of England That Rely on the EU, European Elections Are a Circus
The focus during the campaign in the pro-Brexit South West is on the zany candidates, not the issues.