Vancouver Feather Duster
Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, University of Washington
San Juan Island, Washington
Archival Pigment Print
Common in the Northeast Pacific Ocean, the Vancouver feather duster is often found in large clusters of tubes attached to pilings and the undersides of floating docks. Each worm spends its entire settled life (after a larval stint in the plankton) in its tough, leathery tube, made from thick solidified mucous coated with sand grains. Its body hidden within, it extends only its crown of red-banded tentacles, which function both in feeding and respiration. Each tentacle is feather-shaped, and food particles caught on the tiniest branches (pinnules) are transported in grooves to the main stem and from there down to the mouth at the crown’s base.