This Deep Sea Alien Worm, Tomopteris, Is Utterly Captivating
I would love to know the source, amazing!
This bizarre yet fascinating creature, conveniently called “Squid Worm” was discovered in depths exceeding 2500 meters below the surface of the ocean in the Far East. Not much is known is about its ecology, however it is believed that it mainly feeds on the remains of dead microorganisms that sediment on the bottom of the ocean floor as “marine snow”.
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Bristleworm/ Fireworm (Chloeia parva) by Samantha Craven
Bristleworms are Polychaetes (marine Annelid worms). Each body segment has a pair of fleshy protrusions called parapodia that bear many bristles, called chaetae, which are made of chitin. To touch is to pain. They can also release the bristles into the water, so you can even get stung in the general vicinity.
Bispara polychaete worm
Glowing deep-sea discoveries
Scientists have discovered a further two species of colourful deep-sea dwelling worms. This image shows the bright yellow kidneys and purple mouth of the transparent “shining bomber” (Swima fulgida), discovered off the coast of California, US. The findings are published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.
Swima worms can measure up to 3cm (1.2 inches) long and use fan-like bristles to swim through the water at depths of more than 2,700 metres. They are also bioluminescent: producing light in the gloomy depths of the ocean through a chemical reaction in their bodies.
Researchers collected specimens of the worms to study them in a lab. Under blue light, they were able to identify the bioluminescent structures of the worms. In this light the chemicals responsible for bioluminescence show up as bright, fluorescent green.
The worms are named bombers for the tiny “bombs” they can release to distract predators - visible here as two green capsules on the left side of the “green bomber’s” head. When startled the worm can drop the glowing decoys and swim away from the threat.
The other new species, the “orange bomber” (Swima tawitawiensis) was discovered off the Philippines by an international research group led by Larry Madin of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Unlike the species found off the US west coast, it has orange instead of green blood.
Christmas Tree Worm (Spirobranchus giganteus)
S. giganteus, like other members of its family, possess a modified radiole, usually called the operculum, that it uses to secure its hole when withdrawn into its tube.
As an annelid, S. giganteus possesses a complete digestive system and has a well-developed closed circulatory system. Like other annelids, these worms possess well-developed nervous systems with a central brain and many supporting ganglia, including pedal ganglia, unique to the Polychaeta.
Like other polychaetes, S. giganteus excrete fully developed nephridia. When they reproduce, they simply shed their gametes straight into the water where the eggs (and spermatozoa) become part of the zooplankton to be carried by the currents.