chinese dragon worm, Phyllodoce citrina (4)

photo: Art

chinese dragon worm, Phyllodoce citrina (2)

photo: Fredrik Pleijel

chinese dragon wor, Phyllodoce citrina

photo via: vn-zoom.com

chinese dragon worm, Phyllodoce citrina (3)

photo: Denis Riek

Habitat: Arctic and circumboreal. In northern Europe known from Öresund, Skagerrak, western Norway, Helgoland, Shetland and Wales
Status: Not Listed

This is one of those creatures that took my breath away the first time I saw it. And that usually doesn’t happen when I’m dealing with marine worms. Terrestrial worms, on the other hand, are another story…

This stunning thing is called a Yellow Dragon worm (Phyllodoce citrina) and I’m sure you can see why. This guy looks exactly like the mythological Chinese Dragon, albeit a much smaller version.

These marine worms are members of the class Polychaete which are defined by their segmented body that features a pair of bristle-covered fleshy outgrowths called parapodia on each segment. While it may look like an intimidating specimen, these Chinese dragon look-alikes only grow to about  10 cm (4 in) in length. Still, the resemblance to a golden dragon is uncanny:

chinese dragon worm, Phyllodoce citrina (1)