…is a species of sipunculid (peanut) worm native to subtidal zones and seabeds worldwide. Like most peanut worms S. nudus lives most of its life in a self-made sand burrow where it sits and feeds on any organic material that passes by its burrow. Like certain sea cucumbers S.nudus only exposes its fragile tentacles to feed at night, and mostly works on its burrow during the day. S. nudus is considered a delicacy and is commonly sold throughout southeast Asia.
The deep sea is rich with life, from fish to invertebrates to microbes. Hidden within the mud and rocks are numerous small animals (less than 1 millimeter) that are almost invisible to the naked eye. While small, they represent a major component of deep-sea diversity.
My research focuses on understanding and identifying the communities found within deep-sea sediments, called infauna, and characterizing their role in deep-sea food-webs. The basic questions that I’m addressing include: How many animals are in the sediment? What is the community composed of and who are the rare or most abundant species? What interactions occur among these species, including who is eating what or whom?
Basic patterns in species composition, abundance, and diversity can all be a function of the environment in which they live…
A thalassematid echiuran (spoon worm) from Madang, Papua New Guinea, an odd animal that constantly changes its shape, is “never the same” … these 6 photos show the same individual, I also made nice videos of the remarkable peristaltic movements
So-called zombie worms — and yes, they actually exist — like to munch on whale bones for dinner. The creatures also use the bones for shelter. Spread throughout the world’s oceans, zombie worms are quite adept at making the bones of whales and other large marine animals look like Swiss cheese.
But these worms don’t have any mouthparts with which to gnaw the holes. So how do they do it? A study published in the May 1 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that rather than being “bone-drilling” worms, they’re actually “bone-dissolving” worms: The worms’ skin produces acid in large quantities to break down bones…
Pelagic epitokes of the noble necklace-worm, Autolytus magnus, collected off the dock at Friday Harbor Labs. An epitoke is the pelagic reproductive form of certain species of polychaete worms, which engage in swarming behavior and broadcast spawning in the water column. The genus name Autolytus refers to the fact that these reproductive individuals are budded off of the nonreproductive individual, or atoke.
Top: the green female epitoke
Lower left: the same female epitoke on her side, exposing the mass of eggs she’s brooding
Lower right: the orange male epitoke
Swimming around the epitokes can be seen several large calanoid copepods.
The Squidworm, Teuthidodrilus, was formally described just three years ago, toward the end of the Census of Marine Life. There have only been a handful of sightings, all at great depth. This individual was spotted more than two kilometers deep in the Indian Ocean by the SERPENT Project. The genus is unusual in bearing characteristics of both benthic and pelagic lifestyle. (believed to be a polychaete annelid)
While it may look like a mollusc, the sea mouse is actually a species of marine polychaete worm found throughout the Northern Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic and Mediterranean. Like other polychaete worms the sea mouse is covered in iridescent setae which help them move across the ocean floor. Sea mice are simple scavengers and comb the sea floor eating dead and decaying animals.
A flatworm with 50 to 60 eyes has been discovered at a nature reserve in Cambridgeshire. The odd little critter is potentially an undescribed species. Brian Eversham, chief executive of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, found the flatworm in the Shepreth L nature reserve…
Researchers discover nine new species of marine organism on a whale carcass.
by Brian Switek
A dead whale is a cozy place to live. In death, splayed over the seafloor, the massive marine mammals offer deep-sea organisms an embarrassment of blubbery and bony riches that feed entire communities of unusual creatures for decades.
One such bottom buffet was found in 2010 by researchers aboard the R.R.S. James Cook as they guided a remotely operated vehicle over the seafloor around Antarctica’s South Sandwich Islands (map), the first whalefall ever seen in the vicinity of the continent.
Dead whales that sink to the seafloor have a peculiar afterlife. Sharks, crabs, and other scavengers quickly hone in on the carcass and remove most of the whale’s soft parts, such as the fat and muscle…
A 5 cm-long scaleworm on the underside of a 2 ft-long holothurian (sea cucumber) at 1,526 m. Image captured by the Little Hercules remotely operated vehicle on a site referred to as ‘Baruna Jaya IV - Site 1’ on August 1, 2010.
When it comes to the creepy factor, Osedax worms—nicknamed “zombie worms”—beat out even the goriest movies.
A recent study reveals that these faceless, mouthless worms enjoy making sweet, sweet love inside decomposing whale skeletons that have fallen to the bottom of the ocean floor.
Originally discovered off the coast of California in 2002, Osedax—whose name is derived from the Latin for “bone eating”—got its name for its peculiar living quarters: the bones of a decomposing gray whale. These deep-dwelling worms secrete acid to bore through the hard outer bones of whales and other large vertebrate skeletons to reach the nutritious oils within.
The weirdness doesn’t stop there. Unlike many species of animals, female Osedax worms are much larger than the males—so much larger, in fact, that 50 to 100 males can live inside the female in one of nature’s most bizarre harems…
…is a species of deep-sea polychaete worm only found at hydrothermal vents in the pacific ocean. As suggested by its common name this worm deals with large amounts of heat given off by the vents. To deal with this the worms have hairy backs for insulation. These hairs are not hairs but are actually colonies of bacteria which help the worm keep cool. In turn the worm has a glad that secretes a mucus which the bacteria feed on. Pompeii worms attach themselves to the vents and form a tube in which they reside, poking their feathery heads out once and awhile to feed and breathe.
Trace the vertebrate family tree back far enough, and you’ll find some interesting, um, members. Like the worm in the photograph above (bottom) called an enteropneust, or an acorn worm, it burrows into the sand and mud at the bottom of underwater environments.
Solitary and highly mobile, it doesn’t appear to have much in common with its close cousin the pterobranch, a much smaller marine worm that spends its life in stationary colonies, anchored to the sea floor by rigid tubes. Scientists have spent decades searching for the missing link between the two creatures, and now it seems they finally found it in the form of a 505-million-year-old fossil from Canada’s Burgess Shale: Spartobranchus tenuis…