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Any of numerous species of sedentary, solitary or colonial, marine worms that spend their entire life in a tube made from special secretions or from sand grains glued together. Found worldwide, tube worms range from less than an inch (25 mm) to more than 20 ft (6 m) long. The bottom of the tube is attached to the seafloor; the mouth and tentacles are at the upper, open end. The worm breathes through gills, the tentacles, or the body wall. The tentacles, variously arranged, are used to filter-feed aquatic plants and animals. Tube worms occur in the annelid class Polychaeta and in the phyla Phoronida and Pogonophora. Many, mostly unnamed, forms live in deep-ocean vent communities.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tube worm, visit Britannica.com.