At this year’s BIG event on the Great Barrier Reef, the annual mass coral spawning event, Quicksilver Cruises’ Silversonic dive team recorded a rare sighting one of the Reef’s tiniest, and most festive of creatures getting it on: Christmas Tree Worms.
The rare sighting happened – in broad daylight – on Agincourt Reef and as the worms released their reproductive materials at a dive site called Barracuda Bommie, the world’s tiniest orgy was captured on video by Quicksilver skipper Shane ‘Sharky’ Down.
“I have been diving these reefs for many years and this is a first time I have seen the Christmas Tree Worms spawn. I have seen coral spawning many times but to see this in the middle of the day on a dive was truly magical, very rare and special. It’s an amazing world under the water and the corals never cease to astonish a long-time underwater advocate”.
Christmas Tree Worms are a common sight on the Great Barrier Reef and build a tube (their home) into hard corals. They are brightly coloured, live in pairs and only grow to approximately four centimetres in height. The tiny animals are highly sensitive to vibration and fast changes in light (signs that a predator may be passing overhead) and they typically react by rapidly retracting into the safety of their tube homes. Once settled on a coral bommie, Christmas Tree Worms remain in the same spot for their life – around 20-30 years.