In a Nutshell
We are all familiar with Earthworms, and recognize them as soft, apparently jawless animals. In contrast, movies such as “Tremors”, and the legend of the Mongolian Death Worm present an entirely different scenario. The truth is that certain worms are armed with truly terrifying fangs capable of inflicting grievous and permanent harm to humans.
The Whole Bushel
When fishing at a lake, you might have put a worm on the hook without much of a thought. You probably used an earthworm of the annelid phylum, which is probably thought of as a typical “worm” by most people.
Marine dwelling members of the Polychaete worm class share the annelid phylum with earthworms, but may turn the tables and put a human “on the hook” if provoked.
Polychaete, or “Bristle” worms posses massive fang-like jaws composed of a material somewhat similar to bone. Small ragworm species will inflict a painful, often skin penetrating bite if handled carelessly. As well as having powerful jaws, ragworms tend to sport toxic bristles. Some species are just irritating, but the venom loaded bristles of certain tropical worms may cause permanent nerve damage upon skin contact.
Risks to humans put aside, polychaete worms may also prey on fish as well as small sand dwelling invertebrates, thanks to their exceedingly powerful jaws. In turn, a wide range of migratory shorebirds also depend on marine worms as part of their diet.