Feather Duster

Created on Day 5


The feather duster hides its body in a tube that it builds between rocks or in crevices on coral or in the sand of the seafloor. When it feels threatened, it will pull its tentacles into the tube in a split second. Its tentacles are used to capture plankton from the currents and for getting oxygen.


  • This creature is a segmented sea worm.
  • The feather duster has a series of feathery tentacles on its head that it uses to filter nutrients from the water and take in oxygen. These tentacles are called radioles.
  • The feather duster lives in a long tube constructed of mud or sand, cemented by a mucus of protein. The mucus also minimizes sand irritation on the animal’s body.

Fun Facts

  • This creature is also called a fan worm.
  • While most feather dusters are about the size of a pencil lead, some feather duster worms in excess of two feet long with a dense tentacle crown four or more inches across are known in some temperate regions.

CLASS: Polychaeta (paddle-footed annelids and polychaetes)

ORDER: Canalipalpata

FAMILY: Sabellidae

GENUS/SPECIES: About 130 species in 29 genera

Size: Average 4 in (10 cm)

Depth: From 3–65 ft (1–20 m)

Diet: Plankton and tiny organic particles

Habitat: Coral reefs of tropical and temperate oceans worldwide