I've seen the cinderworms doing their thing before but last weekend the shoreline was covered with an unusual number of dead, nearly dead, typically 'chopped' seaworms of the pincer-bearing variety. Aside from being a great source of food for migrating spring stripers, anyone know what early spring activity causes this? I suspect it's tied to the seaworm's spawn ritual. But the water was downright freezing and it seemed worthy of investigation.
I'm a member of the fraternity of the (sand)eel and the coalition of the crab, also a co-founder of the flounder flingers and calimari club, but my knowledge of worm activity is limited to the swarming of smaller cinder worms.
Anyone know the story behind what Nick and I saw last weekend?
05-08-2003, 10:50 AM
Interesting... if the worms are cued to spawn by changes in temperature, which I suspect is at least partly the case, one possibility is that a warm-water gyre temporarily increased the water temperature over a large enough area that the worms took it as a cue and "went to town". Maybe... maybe not...
05-08-2003, 11:35 AM
The worm you describe, Glycera dibranchiata, commonly sold as "blood worms" and called "pincher worms" by children, does die after mating takes place. The female actually bursts apart to disperse the eggs. It would make sense that such an event would leave behind dead and dying worms in various pieces. The only part which doesn't make sense is where you say the water was very cold. According to the info I have, they spawn in June in Maine. It seems a bit early, but maybe it was a warm water eddy. Either that or a population from back up in a sheltered pond or bay where water temps were higher than normal.
05-08-2003, 12:27 PM
I'll bet the water temp in Maine in June compares to what we have now, no?
Thanks Mike! I think you've solved it since it's very possible that the activity occurred way up inside the tub where there was bait and very active schoolies.
Although the very cold water from the flood would reach the extent of the inlet I doubt it would be a dramatic influence where the current can no longer flow at the terminus of the channels.
I'll have to keep a better eye out over the next few weeks, probably even do a night hike to see what I can see.
Case, I think you're right about that! Don't want to go swimmin at a crowded beach with speedos thats for sure.
05-08-2003, 07:41 PM
It's been a bit interesting to watch the progression over the last 3 weeks way up in the Bass River. Mid April the water was gin (winter) clear and lifeless and by this past weekend it was a veritible potpouri of lifeforms. On the outgoing flow standing in the stream a varity of worms, jellyfish and other wierd stuff would flow by, in impressive numbers. The jellyfish surprised me, though that's probably more an indication of my ignorance on such things. Always thought jellyfish were something that showed up in late summer. It wasn't until Sunday that baitfish I recognize (silversides) were apparent. The jellyfish ranged from the small translucent variety to these cool sunburst colored guys with tenticles and bodies 5 to 7 inches in diameter.