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Peanut Worms: Sipuncula

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, No Common Name (sipunculus Nudus): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, PEANUT WORMS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS


Peanut worms are found in all of the oceans.

Peanut worms are found in both cold- and warm-water habitats, at all depths between the intertidal zone and 22,510 feet (6,860 meters). Some species live in burrows in sand or mud, while others live in rock crevices, empty seashells, or tubeworm tubes. Still others bore into rock or bone. Some species make their homes in mats of algae (AL-jee) or plantlike growths that live in water, in large sponges, or among the roots of sea grasses or mangrove trees.

Peanut worms living in sand and mud swallow surrounding sediment collected with their tentacles. Those living in rocks use their introvert hooks to scrape sand, mud, and small organisms from the surfaces of surrounding rocks.

Larger species of peanut worms are used by fishermen throughout the world as bait. In Java, the western Carolines, and parts of China, they are eaten by humans.


Peanut worms were first illustrated in the mid-1500s and were classified with other wormlike creatures in 1767. Not until 1959 was this unique group of animals placed in their own phylum, Sipuncula. The name of the phylum comes from the Greek siphunculus, meaning "little tube."

Peanut worms are not considered endangered or threatened.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMollusks, Crustaceans, and Related Species