What turned up
in this little shell?


I picked up this small whelk shell on the strandline one day. I had a look inside it to make sure there was no snail or hermit crab inside but there was nothing, so I popped it into my pocket.

You can find out more about whelk shells here

Later that day, look what crawled out!

14 centimetres long, this is a ragworm. A worm that usually lives under rocks or buried in sand and mud where it scavenges for dead plants and animals.

Learn more about marine worms here

Another one!


Amanda sent us these photos of this strange slow-moving creature with a tiny alien head. 

(You can click on the photos to see larger images)

Far more mundane than Martian, this is actually a symbiotic community of several creatures - a stack of slipper limpets - with a small ragworm living in the bottom empty shell. 


Ragworms are polycheate worms which means that they have bristles on each of their segments and gives them the name 'bristle worm'.

There are, in fact, 500 species, some of which only their mothers can tell apart.

Ragworms live under rocks or buried in the sand or mud where they forage for whatver organic matter they can find - plant or animal, dead or alive. They are equipped with very hard, yet lightweight teeth which, unlike most teeth are not made with calcium but with zinc. As such, they are currently being well-studied by people interested in these things. Presumably they have big magniying glasses as ragworm mouths are hard to see, let alonetheirtiny teeth.


On a sad note, ragworms get to breed only once, and then they die.



Any finds you'd like to share? 

We can add your photos and stories to this website.

Please email hello@beachstuff.uk
Thank you!