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enter image description here

It was found in Malta, in a puddle by the sea. It left a lot of tiny hair on the shoes (which we removed thoroughly without touching them).

I didn’t have any coins with me so I put keys for scale.

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  • $\begingroup$ Apparently a "bristle worm" , there are many kinds. When I had salt water aquariums, there were at least 3 varieties in the gravel that were introduced with "live" rock. $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2021 at 17:03

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Looks like a Mediterranean Bearded Fireworm (Hermodice carunculata).

enter image description here

Source: The Malta Independent

From Wikipedia:

Bearded fireworms are usually 15 centimetres in average length, but can reach up to 30 centimetres.

Each segment has a pair of parapodia, a structure for locomotion, clusters of stinging white bristles, and red or orange gills all in bilateral position.

You can see this post from the Malta Independent warning people who hang out in tidal areas in Malta about this polychaete worm -- it's bristles can inject a neurotoxin which can cause intense irritation/burning and possible nausea and dizziness.

Also, FYI, the whitish elliptic shape on the second body segment closest to your keys is the mouth. See here for some images of this mouth in action!

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  • $\begingroup$ @Thomas. Thanks for accepting my answer -- hope it helps! Please consider upvoting, too :) $\endgroup$ Dec 24, 2021 at 2:47

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