Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Bizarre Squidworm Discovered - PhysOrg.com

photo credit L.P. Madin & Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Aww, look at that...face. Is that a face? I don't even know. What IS this thing?

A squidworm.

And it doesn't have a face.

Caught 6,650 - 9,550ft below the ocean's surface, the squidworm is a worm just like any you'd find in your backyard, although perhaps a bit more fantastic-looking. They appear to feed on "marine snow," which is composed of the tiny bits and pieces that rain down from the upper layers of the ocean.

"Fecal material, dead animals, cast off mucus...Not the most appealing sounding food," says Karen Osborn, marine biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.

Possessing no eyes, the squidworm locates its food by using "frilly" organs on its head to smell the surrounding water for food sources. It swims through the sea using its 25+ pairs of paddles that line its body. It also has up to 10 tentacle-like appendages that seem to be used for either touch or smell.

A bizarre find, indeed.

Full article here (PhysOrg.com)

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