Close Encounter

Mary McKee VBOX at
Sun Aug 11 14:07:52 EST 1996

[Actually sent to annelida moderator who has seen a lot of swarming
worms but not at midday. Ideas please. Please CC any id to
<VBOX at>]

During a recent stroll along the beach in Atlantic City, I had a
close encounter with some very curious life forms.  I suspect they
must be common to marine biologist, but to me their discovery was as
startling as the first time I saw a dead cicada lying on the
sidewalk at a Miami strip mall and thought it was a mutant bird. 
(Have you guessed I'm not a biologist?)

Here's the scene.  It's late July.  It's lunchtime, so the tide is
taking a siesta while sleepy dog wavelets lap at the shore.  In with
the wavelets rides a small crew of wiggley things, each about an
inch long and thin as a thread.  They swim like garden worms
injected with rocket fuel.  Their nearly transparent bodies are
tipped with watery red heads that race furiously to burrow into the
sand at the shoreline before the wavelets can wash them out of the
competition.  Any worm who gets his head in the sand wins.  The
grand prize is a brand new home in a custom made dugout on some of
the most expensive real estate on the entire East Coast.  The losers
become fish bait.

Can you direct me to an identifying source, or should I brush up on
my Latin and give them an unpronounceable name vaguely resembling my

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