bobbit worm

[13], This species has been found in the mainly warmer parts of select bodies of water such as Indonesian and European waters. Those of a nervous disposition should look away now, the bobbit worm is the stuff of aquatic nightmares, especially if you are a fish. Little is known about the sexual habits and lifespan of this worm, but researchers hypothesize that sexual reproduction occurs at an early stage, maybe even when the worm is about 100 mm (3.9 in) in length; this is very early, considering these worms can grow to sizes of nearly 3 m (9.8 ft) in some cases (although most observations point to a much lower average length of 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and an average of 25 mm (0.98 in) in diameter).

Spare a thought, therefore, for the aquarium technicians who occasionally stumble upon bobbit worms that have accidentally entered their collections as stowaways. Head to head: Grizzly bear vs African lion, Pay by Direct Debit and get 40% off an annual subscription*, Receive every issue delivered direct to your door with FREE UK delivery. Five antennae protruding from its head act like tripwires. It displays a wide range of colors from bl… [11] The mandibles can be retracted inside of its body and are responsible for striking and stunning its prey and are capable of snapping some in half. For more information about how to do this, and how Immediate Media Company Limited (publisher of Science Focus) holds your personal information, please see our privacy policy. What animal collectively makes up the largest biomass on Earth? If a fish should accidentally brush past one of them, it has mere milliseconds to flee. Eunice aphroditois is a bristle worm ranging from less than 10 cm (4 in) to 3 m (10 ft) long[1] that inhabits burrows it creates on the ocean floor. According to Luis F. Carrera-Parra and Sergio I. Salazar-Vallejo, ecologists specializing in annelid polychaetes at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur in Campeche, Mexico, eunicids inject "... narcotizing or killing toxin in their prey animal, such that it can be safely ingested — especially if they are larger than the worm — and then digested through the gut". [16] Their life cycle starts when conceived after spawning. Today, Barry is no longer of this world. The report remained in the public consciousness for a number of years, which explains why in 1996 a lowly and largely overlooked ocean worm was finally bequeathed a common name – the bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois). Some fish exhibit mobbing behavior to reduce predation risk, in which a group of fish will direct jets of water into the bobbit worm's burrow to disorient it. You can unsubscribe at any time. By clicking “sign up” you are agreeing to our terms and conditions. Although the worm hunts for food, it is omnivorous. The workers had seen the devastation caused by the worm, such as fish being injured or disappearing and coral being sliced in half, but did not find it until they started taking the display apart in the tank. These ambush predators have two eyes and five antennae on their head that are used to sense prey when hunting in soft sediments. PLUS a free mini-magazine for you to download and keep. [4] However, any quick strike by the mandibles of the worm can leave the fish stunned while also injecting a certain level of toxins.[15]. Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun facts. In point of fact, its name derives from a rather notorious event that occurred in the United States, in North America, in the mid-1990's. It lives mainly in the Atlantic Ocean, but can also be found in the Indo-Pacificocean area. [12] Typically, E. aphroditois color ranges from deep purple to black along with metallic color as well. The bobbit worm’s razor-sharp mouthparts strike with such velocity that prey is sometimes sliced clean in two. [4] It is also equipped with sharp teeth-like structures to strike prey.

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