Common Name: Fireworm, Bearded Fireworm
Scientific Name: Hermodice carunculata
The Fireworm is a type of Bristle worm(click here to read more). Bristle worms are a segmented worms that are generally viewed to be beneficial, the fireworms however are generally viewed as a pest due to their more aggressive nature and size, in general fireworms will be bigger and thicker than bristleworms. The Fireworm can grow to 12 inches in length and can be identified by their short periodic white bristles and plate armor appearance. They are found in red, green, yellow, or brown coloration accompanied by the white bristles and sometimes black striping. They prefer hiding in rocks during the day, but occasionally can be found on the sandbed when the lights are on. They are thought to be an opportunistic feeder but can bite or irritate branched corals and gorgonians. They are often found on recently deceased fish, but are rarely the cause of the death. When disturbed, fire worms use their bristles for protection. These bristles can easily penetrate the skin and break off, causing a painful irritation. Certain species of fireworm posses a mild neurotoxin within their bristles.
Fireworms mitigation comes in several ways. The most straight forward way is physically removing the animal from the aquarium. These worm often crawl between the rocks and the physical removal is often not a viable solution. Remember to use tweezers and not touch the animal directly. Fireworms can be removed using baiting techniques, a piece of food in a closed container with small holes for the animal to crawl through. And lastly, some fish and invertebrates will eat fireworms. The Melanurus Wrasse and Arrow Crab are the most commonly used to hunt fireworms in the aquarium.
Picture of bristles stuck in the skin:
Common Opinion: BAD