Open main menu

Wikipedia β

The palolo worm or Samoan palolo worm (Palola viridis) is a Polychaeta species from the waters of the Pacific islands around Samoa.

Palolo worm
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Polychaeta
Order: Eunicida
Family: Eunicidae
Genus: Palola
Species: P. viridis
Binomial name
Palola viridis
(Gray, 1840)

Eunice viridis


Life cycleEdit

Palolo worm life cycle

Reproduction involves mass spawning at night in spring or early summer (October - November in the Southern Hemisphere). The terminal parts of their bodies drop off and float over the surface of the water, releasing sperm and eggs. The mechanisms or triggers which induce spawning such that it occurs during nights of a waning moon, continuing for several nights, are not completely known.[1][2]


It is sometimes synonymous with Palola siciliensis.


The palolo worm is found in various tropical regions, including in Indonesia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and American Samoa.

Cultural useEdit

Indigenous populations in various parts of the Pacific – including Vanuatu and Samoa – use the reproductive portion of the palolo worm as a food source. During their short lived annual appearance in the last quarter of the moon in October and November, worms are enthusiastically gathered with a net, and are either eaten raw or cooked in several different manners.

In Indonesia, a traditional event called the Nyale Festival is held between February and March in the Indonesian island of Lombok. The event focuses on catching these worms as bait and as a delicacy for the locals.

The spawning event is so important to the inhabitants of the Torres and Banks Islands of Vanuatu that it is featured in their lunar calendar.[3]


  1. ^ Craig, P. "Natural History Guide to American Samoa" (PDF). National Park of American Samoa, Department Marine and Wildlife Resources, American Samoa Community College. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  2. ^ Ley, Willy (October 1960). "The Moon Worm". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 56–66. 
  3. ^ Codrington (1891); Mondragón (2004).


  • Gill, Rev Mr. (1854). "On the Palolo". Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal. 57. Retrieved 4 January 2018. 

External linksEdit