'Unusual' Sea Creature Appears Along South Carolina Coast

By Sarah Tate

April 27, 2021

It's springtime along the South Carolina coast, so that means visitors may see an "unusual" sea creature along the shores, WMBF reports.

According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, marine worms with hooked jaws, also called clamworms, have begun appearing along the coast. The creatures typically live on the seafloor, but they swarm the coastal waters during the full and new moons of the spring as they undergo a transformation.

"This fascinating phenomenon occurs every year at our marine headquarters in Charleston and is often followed by hungry throngs of fish and birds along the marsh edge," the department said in a post on its Facebook page.

The department posted a video showing the tiny creatures and what a swarm may look like.

Nothing says spring on the coast likeโ€ฆ a frenzy of marine worms? ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ› Sometimes called clamworms, these animals that ordinarily live on the seafloor undergo an incredible transformation under new and full moons in spring โ€“ their bodies morph into reproductive forms called โ€˜epitokesโ€™ as they swarm in coastal waters. This fascinating phenomenon occurs every year at our marine headquarters in Charleston and is often followed by hungry throngs of fish and birds along the marsh edge. ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿฆ… You may not want to go swimming with epitokes, as clamworms do have a set of hooked jaws, but itโ€™s hard not to appreciate such an unusual coastal sight. ๐Ÿ๏ธ Have you ever seen an epitoke swarm in spring?

Posted by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

But the department says there's no need to worry, as they have no interest in harming humans.

"The truth is that there's nothing to fear from marine worms in South Carolina," it said in another post on Facebook. "Spawning swarms are short-lived, lasting only a couple days, and most visitors to the coast will never see one."

The post concluded, "The spawning of clamworms in the spring is one of those fascinating seasonal events that makes life along the coast so interesting โ€” not something to fear."

Photo: Getty Images

Advertise With Us

For You

    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

    Connect

    ยฉ 2021 iHeartMedia, Inc.

    • Help
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • AdChoicesAd Choices