Sabellariid Worm Reef

What’s that funny title word? Spell it sa – bell- AIR – id, complex name for a marine worm, but complex is also what they build. The amazing reefs that are exposed at low tide here in Indian Harbour Beach or in many other beaches along the turbulent shoreline of the East Florida Coast are the result of the ability of numerous tiny organisms. These living reefs are the perfect habitat for many marine plants and animals, like stone crabs and spiny lobsters and provide feeding to sea turtles and fishes.

Pretty formations urgently needing to be protected from the natural curiosity of the humans. Though it might sounds thrilling to walk around these reefs it’s very important to never step on them, because it crushes the protective tubes formed by the worms, killing them. Unfortunately, it’s not what we see everyday at the low tide when people on the beach discover the reefs and we watch all families with kids walking, jumping and playing on them, probably motivated by ignorance of what may look like rocks at a first glance.

That’s why it’s not difficult to capture pictures like this, it happens on each low tide, every single day!

See what I mean?

These kids were looking for crabs and were not aware of what they’re doing to the reefs.

The problem persists by the lack of information on the beaches: it should be posted a warning/notice/info sign at each access, with an explanatory information about this preciosity, together with an advise to never walk, break pieces off or damage this consolidated worm’s product with many ecological benefits.

But look what you find when entering one of many public access…

Caution! The only sign related says ‘No Diving’ because of the submerged rocks. Rocks?! Yeah, right, that’s the only warning you’ll see about the so called rocks.

But anyone who looks close to this ‘rocks’ see this:

Impressive texture, with thousand of tubes per square meter.

Whoever rules the Florida coastline needs to take better care to protect this extensive reef system. Starting yesterday!

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