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  1. Keith Lockwood, Fisheries Biologist
  2. Oxford, MD
  3. Total Reports: 40
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Posted on May 23, 2013 | Permalink

Swarming of May Worms

Type: Chesapeake
Location: Chesapeake Bay

We are approaching the end of May and a full moon is due this Memorial Day weekend; these two events mark the annual swarming of May Worms on the Chesapeake Bay. The marine worms that we often see when shucking a bushel of oysters are a common inhabitant of oyster reefs and shell litter on the bottom of the bay. This time of the year they under go a metamorphic change to a breeding form that can be seen in great masses at times under dock lights at night or just swimming around close to the surface in small groups. During this annual swarming event fish such as Striped Bass and White Perch gorge on the great feast that is before them much to the consternation of fishermen. Often Striped Bass can be seen so full of the little morsels that they seem ready to burst if they eat just one more, so therefore they tend to not be too interested in a fishermen’s offerings. The good part of all this is that fish fatten up on this banquet and build up fat reserves lost during a long winter. (Photos by Rich Watts)

Tags: May Worms, Striped Bass, White Perch