palolo worm

palolo worm

noun
a polychaete worm, Eunice viridis, that lives in burrows among the coral reefs of several South Pacific islands, producing sperm or eggs in posterior segments that are cast off periodically in enormous numbers.

Origin:
1890–95

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World English Dictionary
palolo worm (pəˈləʊləʊ)
 
n
any of several polychaete worms of the family Eunicidae, esp Eunice viridis, of the S Pacific Ocean: reproductive segments are shed from the posterior end of the body when breeding
 
[C20 palolo, from Samoan or Tongan]

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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

palolo worm

any of various segmented marine worms of the families Eunicidae and Nereidae (class Polychaeta, phylum Annelida). The palolo worm exhibits unique breeding behaviour: during the breeding season, always at the same time of year, the worms break in half; the tail section, bearing reproductive cells, separates and swims to the surface, where it releases eggs and sperm.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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