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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 31, 2021

Did You Know? 17 Incredible Green Spoon Worm Facts

Green spoon worm facts reveal some interesting characteristics of this animal.

The green spoon worm is one of those mysterious sea bed organisms that is yet to be understood completely. This species belongs to the kingdom Animalia under the family Bonelliidae. They live in burrows along the sea bed or among coarse sand and rocks.

A female green spoon worm (Bonellia viridis) can grow up to the length of 5.9 in (15 cm), and the male is quite tiny considering it lives inside her. The female has a long proboscis that produces a green chemical. This pigment is quite toxic with the ability to paralyze small animals or kill larvae and bacteria. Scientists are experimenting with this toxin to create a new type of antibiotic.

The green spoon worm distribution is observed across the waters of the Northeast Atlantic, the Arctic, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, Malta, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean. The female feeds on dead organic matter and microscopic organisms, whereas the male lives inside the female like a parasite. The male lives in the genital sac for the remainder of his life to fertilize the eggs.

If you want to know more about worms, check out our worm facts and silk worm facts pages.

Green Spoon Worm Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a green spoon worm?

The green spoon worm (Bonellia viridis) is a type of marine animal species under the phylum Annelida and the family Bonelliidae.

What class of animal does a green spoon worm belong to?

The genus of green spoon worm (Bonellia viridis) is Bonellia and they are categorized under the class Echiura, meaning they are annelids that have lost the characteristic body segmentation.

How many green spoon worms are there in the world?

These spoon worms are found under the sea bed at a depth ranging from 33-328 ft (10-100 m). This is why their exact distribution numbers are unknown.

Where does a green spoon worm live? 

Green spoon worm distribution can be seen in the Mediterranean Sea, northeast Atlantic Ocean, the Indo-Pacific Ocean, and the Red Sea.

What is a green spoon worm's habitat? 

One of the cool facts about the green spoon worm (Bonellia viridis) is that the male lives inside or on the female's body. Females are found in subtropical habitats, living in sea bed burrows or among rocks and coarse sand. They are usually found at a depth range between 33-328 ft (10-100 m).

Who do green spoon worms live with?

The community behavior of these spoon worms is unknown. Since the male lives inside or on the body of the female, you can say that they live together.

How long does a green spoon worm live?

There is no evidence of the exact green spoon worm (Bonellia viridis) lifespan. However, research has reported that other species from the family Bonelliidae can live up to 25 years.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction of green spoon worm male and female is unique. The male lives inside the sac, where he produces a steady supply of sperm, helping fertilize the eggs into larvae. The larvae do not have differentiated sexes, are free-floating in the beginning, and often settle on the ocean floor. The sex of these larvae is determined by whether they come into contact with the green toxic pigment, bonellin, on the proboscis of the female. Larvae that comes into contact with this toxin settle on the female's body become males and get absorbed into the genital sac to continue producing sperm. According to the observations of the green spoon worm mating system, the larvae that does not come into contact with the proboscis turn into female worms.

What is their conservation status?

Although the green spoon worm (Bonellia viridis) has a status of Not Evaluated by the IUCN, they are considered non-threatened or endangered.

Green Spoon Worm Fun Facts

What do green spoon worms look like?

The female green spoon worm (Bonellia viridis) description includes an uneven, elongated body that resembles a long tube with a spoon-like head. They are dark green-blue or gray and have a body length of up to 5.9 in (15 cm). The female also has an appendage known as the proboscis, which extends out of the body and reaches a striking length of up to 4.9 ft (1.5 m). The males are drastically smaller than the female, with a body length of 0.05-0.11 in (0.1-0.3 cm). Their body is flat and a colorless gray without a proboscis, circulatory system, mouth, or anus. Their body is dominated by the presence of their sex organs.

The green spoon worm female is found in burrows at the bottom of the sea or in coarse sand

How cute are they?

Although worms are not preferred by many and are not considered cute, this long blob-like animal's physical description resembles a cushion-y velvet exterior, giving it a decently adorable appearance.

How do they communicate?

There is no extensive research done on the green spoon worm (Bonellia viridis), and therefore, whether they communicate or not, and if they do and how, is unknown.

How big is a green spoon worm? 

The female green spoon worm (Bonellia viridis) has a body length of around 5.9 in (15 cm). This means they are slightly smaller than the worm snake, which has a body length of 7.5 in (19 cm). However, the proboscis present in the female can be compared to the entire length of a rattlesnake.

How fast can green spoon worms move?

There are not many movement observations of the green spoon worm. It is usually seen floating in the water or hidden in coarse sand and rocks at different depth ranges.

How much does a green spoon worm weigh?

Due to a lack of research, the weight of these spoon worms is unknown.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The female and male do not have separate names. The scientific name for green spoon worm is Bonellia viridis, and it's common for both is green spoon worm.

What would you call a baby green spoon worm?

There is no separate name for their offspring, but the fertilized eggs are called larvae.

What do they eat? 

The diet of green spoon worm consists of dead bits of plants and animals along with several other microscopic organisms found close to the sea bed.

Are they harmful?

The size of green spoon worm does not make it look harmful. However, this species produces a bright green pigment called bonellin and its main distribution is in their proboscis. The chemical is quite toxic and can paralyze small animals, larvae of other organisms, and some bacteria.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these spoon worms belong to the family of sea animals found at a depth of 33-328 ft (10-100 m) and cannot be kept as a pet at home. In addition, they produce a toxin that can be harmful.

Did you know...

Spoon worms are eaten by leopard sharks.

What determines if a green spoon worm is male or female?

The larvae of these worms are free-floating and the sex is undetermined. When the larvae comes into contact with the proboscis, the chemical bonellin transforms it into a male. The male attaches itself to the female body and eventually gets sucked in through the feeding tube and then the genital sac. The larvae that settles on the bottom turns into a female.

What is inside a spoon worm?

The male is smaller than an Irukandji jellyfish and lives as a sperm-producing parasite on or inside the female. After the male clings to the female body, they get sucked in through the proboscis. Afterward, the male reaches the genital sac to fertilize the larvae and lives inside the female for the rest of its life.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other annelids from our flatworm facts and bearded fireworm facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable insect coloring pages.

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