Coldwater Marine Aquarium
Wednesday October 4th 2017
Something very odd was moving around the gravel in my sea tank this afternoon.
These are the feeding tentacles of a marine worm, most likely a polychaete (bristle worm) in the Cirratulidae family.
All of the tentacles are attached to the same animal, a small worm buried in the gravel.
As the tentacles contact a microscopic food item, cilia on their surface move the food towards the worm's mouth. This process can be speeded when the worm retracts a tentacle.
While all this was going on in the shed, a huge green insect was walking around the garden.
This is a great green bush-cricket, the largest member of the grasshopper family in the UK.
The nasty-looking spike on its rear end is harmless, an ovipositor or egg-laying tube.
The bush-cricket uses this to lay its eggs under the surface of the soil.
Very similar but a fraction of the size is this long-winged conehead, photographed a couple of weeks ago
at the edge of the Fleet using its ovipositor to lay eggs in a grass stem.