Defenses
 
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Invertebrates
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The topic considered here reating to defenses of invertebrates deals with toxic chemicals. Other invertebrate defenses are accessible via the icons.
 
 

Invertebrate defenses: toxic chemicals

Chemical defenses of invertebrates fall into a category of poisonous bristles, considered here, and 3 other categories accessible via the icons.

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Invertebrate defenses: toxic chemicals: poisonous bristles

 

Use of bristles whether poisonous or not by reef invertebrates is actually quite rare, but bristleworms/ fireworms are worth considering in this short section.

NOTE poisons are usually considered to be chemicals that affect after swallowing, while toxins are usually considered to be chemicals that affect by directly entering the bloodstream. So, to be strictly accurate, one should refer to a fireworm's bristles as being toxic

 
 
seahorse dive leader for Biology of Caribbean Coral Reefs website photograph of a bristleworm Hermodice carunculata taken from a video

"Oh, check out the bristleworm. We shouldn't do this, but just a gentle touch to show how it erects its bushy bristles when disturbed. My goodness, what a lot of writhing and bristling. There, everything's back to normal now." - Little Cayman 2001

NOTE Hermodice carunculata, also known as bearded fire worm

 
  The bushy bristles erected by the bearded fireworm (bristleworm) are sharp, penetrate skin easily, produce intense pain in humans, and certainly irritate soft-skinned reef organisms. The toxin may be associated with some component of the bristle itself, or with an epithelial covering of the bristles.
 
photo collage of bristleworms Hermodice carunculata
 
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