CRITTER: Meet kio the Christmastree worm

  • Terry Lilley / Special to the garden island

    On the top of its body, the Christmas-tree worm, kio in Hawaiian, has two crowns composed of radioles, which are hair-like appendages that radiate from a central spine and look like a mini Christmas tree.

  • Terry Lilley / Contributed

    These marine tube-building worms burrow into the live coral up to 8 inches deep and make a hard calcium carbonate tube for their slender body.

Do you know that many of our coral reefs here in Hawai‘i are just covered in what looks like tiny, two-inch-long Christmas trees that grow on top of the live coral? There are some strange animals that grow in Hawaiian waters, and kio is one of them!