This book is full of creatures that are weird and wonderful – marine worms. Some of them look like nightmares or aliens from outer space, others look like beautiful flowers. You have never seen most of them. Many are not yet known to science. The author and his friends – underwater photographers and marine biologists were lucky to find many fantastic beasts – a variety of marine worms. This required thousands of dives, especially night dives, and dozens of expeditions. The uniqueness of the book is also in the widest geographical range that it covers – from the Red Sea to Hawaii, including the world-famous centers of biological diversity, the Coral Triangle, the Great Barrier Reef, etc.
Marine worms are recognized world champions in biodiversity. This book is the first photo guide to these secretive and often strange animals. The book is based on photographs taken by the author, as well as his friends – citizen scientists and professional marine biologists. It is designed for the general public interested in marine life. The book is also of interest to scuba divers and underwater photographers interested in identifying their underwater finds. This photo guide should also assist marine biologists and students in the initial identification of collected marine worms.
Many years ago, scientists included in "vermis" all animals that are longer than wide, without backbones. Many distinct groups of worms were described and recognized later. This book illustrates the most common groups of marine worms. It is they who are most likely to be met under water by marine life lovers, scuba divers, snorkelers.
Segmented worms make up the Phylum Annelida. It is the most diverse group of marine worms. Therefore, it is not surprising that photos of annelids occupy a large part of this book. Within the annelids, the largest number of species are polychaetes. Polychaetes (meaning "many bristles") have many bristles on the body. In addition to polychaetes, the guide covers segmented worms including Peanut worms (Sipuncula) and Leeches (Clitellata). The diversity of marine worms is not limited to annelids. The Ribbon worms (Phylum Nemertea) and Arrow worms (Phylum Chaetognatha) are also featured in this book. Together with Acoel worms and Acorn worms. These groups have significantly fewer species, but they are very important for our understanding of the evolution of marine life. Flatworms (order Polycladida) are featured in a separate book, Marine Flatworms of the Tropical Indo-Pacific.
The book covers the region from the Red Sea, East and South Africa to Hawaii, Marshall Islands and Guam. Inside the book:
- Over 820 full colour photographs of 440+ species;
- Particular attention was paid to colour variations, for some species up to 10 photos were added;
- Live photographs of most of the species have never before appeared in field guides or popular books;
- Convenient pictorial guide at the beginning and genera index at the end of the book