Fun Ice Cream Cone Worm Facts For Kids

Nena Singha
Oct 20, 2022 By Nena Singha
Originally Published on Sep 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Check out these interesting ice cream cone worm facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

Ice cream cone worms, or trumpet worms, are marine Polychaete worms from the family of Pectinariidae who have a peculiar way of living inside a shell made of tiny grains of sand that resemble an ice cream cone. Their scientific name is Lagis australisis.

The cones can reach up to a maximum length of 2 in (5 cm) and dates back to as old as in the Cretaceous period. The Pectinariidae are bottom dwellers who use fine-grained sediments for their fragile structures.

The worm is quite horrifying to look at with a set of tentacles, hair, and claws, which is why it stays hidden. As for its diet, it eats small edible detritus from sand that is easily digested.

The worms cover themselves with mucus and are found floating as larvae in their early stages of life whereas, later on, the trumpet worm spends most of its life hidden under the ground, under the sea.

Check out our flatworm facts and glow-worm facts for more interesting articles!

Ice Cream Cone Worm Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an ice cream cone worm?

The worm from the family Pectinariidae is a type of sea worm under the animal kingdom.

What class of animal does an ice cream cone worm belong to?

The ice cream cone worm, annelid belongs to the class Polychaeta from the family of Pectinariidae.

How many ice cream cone worms are there in the world?

According to their natural habitats, they are specifically water-loving species living in shallow marine waters and similar locations. It can be estimated that their population is around the thousands or less since their range of habitats includes a few of the major ocean systems. 

Where does an ice cream cone worm live?

It is typically found in benthic and tropical environments at a depth of 3.28-173.88 ft (1-53 m), preferably in mud and sandflats, ocean floors, and at the bottom of the sea. 

What is an ice cream cone worm's habitat?

It is typically found around the western central Atlantic, eastern central Pacific, northern Brazil, and central America wherever there is a tropical and benthic environment available with abundant sand or mud bottom in cold waters. 

Who do ice cream cone worms live with?

The trumpet worm usually stays alone in its shells, buried underneath the ground, and prefers dark places, similar to a woodlouse.

How long does an ice cream cone worm live?

The average life expectancy of the worm is quite similar to other sea worms and is short-lived as they only live for a year or less.  

How do they reproduce?

The Polychaeta class of worms is mostly gonochoric or sexual in nature. The females produce pheromones, like honeybees, to attract males where they can shed their sperms to stimulate the spawning of eggs.

This process of reproduction is called swarming where the gametes are spawned by the rupturing of body walls.

Once fertilization occurs, most eggs turn planktonic while others are burrowed in a gel-like mass attached to the tubes of the worm, similar to an egg brooder pouch. The eggs soon develop into a trochophore larva, then a metamorph, a juvenile where the length of the body increases, and finally into an adult Pectinariidae worm.

What is their conservation status?

Due to the lack of data and investigations on the species of sea worms, their conservation status is unknown and remains unevaluated.  

Ice Cream Cone Worm Fun Facts

What do ice cream cone worms look like?

The amazing resemblance of the species' work to an ice cream cone is fascinating.

As the name suggests, an Ice cream cone worm can easily be distinguished with its cone-shaped shells or tubes, usually about 2 in (5 cm) in length, made from grains of sand. The worms have a pair of shiny eyelashes coming out of the top of the shells.

These eyelashes are actually solidified hair which helps them in borrowing their heads underground. They also have a pair of tentacles to help them search for food in the surface sediments.

How cute are they?

The ice cream cone worm is nowhere near the cuteness radar, as the worm is quite scary to look at, with its tapered moist body, claws, tentacles, and sharp solidified hair, it looks like a small monster. 

How do they communicate?

The social behavior and communicative pattern of the worm are not known but it can be estimated that they communicate through body secretions, as seen in the mating process where the female produces pheromones to attract males during the breeding season. 

How big is an ice cream cone worm?

The worm has a maximum length of 2 in (5 cm), it is smaller than a hummingbird.

How fast can an ice cream cone worm move?

The worm moves pretty fast in its natural habitat but its exact speed of movement is not known. 

How much does an ice cream cone worm weigh?

The weight of the worm is not known as it is still under investigation and not much has been reported on it.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names given to this sea worm.

What would you call a baby ice cream cone worm?

A baby ice cream cone worm would be referred to as a wormlet, similar to other young worms.

What do they eat?

Trumpet worms are detritivorous in nature. They feed on sediment, detritus, and algae around their habitats.

Are they harmful?

No, since they are bottom dwellers like codfish, they do not come up to the surface easily, so they are not harmful to human beings.

Would they make a good pet?

Ice cream cone worms are quite susceptible to changing environments and are most comfortable in their preferred habitat which includes cold waters, benthic surface, and a tropical environment, so keeping one as a pet in a human settlement will not be a good idea. 

Did you know...

The family of Polychaeta and their similar counterparts are some of the oldest living creatures on earth with many fossil formations found relating to the species dating back to as long as 505 million years ago. The older fossils have similar features as the present species, such as the sensory tentacles and the solidified bristles from its head. 

As we all know, Earth has been a victim of five mass extinction events that wiped out 96% of marine life. However, Polychaetes are some of the species of marine organisms that survived those extinction events and remain among us still today. 

Why are they called ice cream cone worms?

The Lagis australis is called an ice cream cone worm due to its similar resemblance to an ice cream cone. The worm's outer shell or tube looks like an ice cream cone in which the worm hides. 

Some other names of the worm include the trumpet worm, ice cream cone worm, Pectinariidae, and Lagis australisis.

What do ice cream cone worms do?

Ice cream cone worms build delicate shells using small grains to reside in and bury themselves underneath the ground.

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

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable ice cream cone worm coloring pages.

Main image by Hans Hillewaert.

Second image by Hans Hillewaert.

Ice Cream Cone Worm Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Sediment feeder, detritus, algae

What Type of Animal were they?

Detritivore

Average Litter Size?

Unknown

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

What habitat Do they Live In?

mud, sand flats, tropical regions, seabed

Where Do They Live?

south america and central america

How Long Were They?

2 in (5 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Polychaeta

Genus

Lagis

Family

Pectinariidae

Scientific Name

Lagis australisis

What Do They Look Like?

Tube-shaped with hair sticking out of its head

Skin Type

Moist mucous skin

What Are Their Main Threats?

none

What is their Conservation Status?

Not evaluated
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Written by Nena Singha

Bachelor of Science specializing in Geology/Earth Science

Nena Singha picture

Nena SinghaBachelor of Science specializing in Geology/Earth Science

Nena is a content writer adept at crafting creative, commercial, and technical content for a wide range of projects. Her ability to generate innovative ideas, coupled with her meticulous research and adherence to SEO guidelines, ensures that her work leaves a lasting impact. She takes pleasure in sharing her knowledge and experience to help others enhance their writing skills. While not immersed in her projects, Nena finds joy in exploring the captivating world of manga and anime. With a Bachelor's degree in Geography/Earth Sciences from Gurucharan College, Nena brings a unique interdisciplinary approach to her writing.

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