A Striped Deep Sea Worm

A red and white colored bristle worm swims in the water column.
© Hauke Flores, AWI

In Antarctica's Southern Ocean swims a beautiful polychaete (bristly worm) called Tomopteris carpenteri, which is adorned with alternating red and transparent bands. The largest species in its genus, it it found throughout the water column, including the deep sea, where this photo was taken by Census of Marine Life researchers. Most polychaetes swim in the open water using their parapodia, the comb-like appendages coming off their sides, but some bury into the seafloor. Many members of the Tomopteris genus are bioluminescent and can shoot sparks off their parapodia when threatened.