Today for creature feature I am highlighting the fire worm. The bearded fireworm does not move very fast as you can see from my video and is not a super huge threat to humans unless touched by a careless swimmer or diver. If you are snorkeling, be careful where you are stepping and wear scudas or something on your feet. I generally go with the rule, no touching unknown creatures. I will of course grab a lobster or flip over a shell to look but other than that, I try to touch as little as possible on the reef. In my opinion, there is no reason the harass the critters.
On a fire worm, the bristles, when flared, can penetrate human skin and inject a powerful neurotoxin that will produce a serious irritation and painful burning sensations where to came into contact. It can also lead to dizziness, nausea and possible vomiting. This irritations can last a few hours but you may still fill a tingling sensation the next day.
If you come into contact with a fireworm, don’t panic. Apply some alcohol to the area, that may alleviate the pain. You can also try allying some tape and quickly removing it to pull out the spines.
The ones I generally see are under 6″. Bearded fireworms are usually between 5–10 centimetres (1.9–3.9 in) in length, but can reach up to 35 centimetres (13.8 in). Fire worms have white bristles on each side that are poisonous when flared out. the fireworm will flare these when it is disturbed. I remember on my checkout dive in the Corn Islands of Nicaragua, our crazy English instructor, John, thought it would be cute to harass a huge foot long one. He had warned us about them before, so we steered clear.
The bearded fireworm is usually found on crawling bout reefs, under stones under stones in rocky areas and occasionally on mud bottoms. be careful when lobstering, cuz these little guys may be lingering near the rocks. They can be found in oceans up to 150 meters. of the sea, and on some mud bottoms.