Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Squid Worm

Image by Laurence Madin
(Image Source)

Two miles deep, down in the waters between Indonesia and the Philippines, there lives and animal so unusual that on first glance, no one knew what it was. Was it a squid? Was it a worm? What is this thing? After a few years of study, we now know. It is, in fact, a Squid Worm, a member of the earthworm and tube worm filled Annelid phylum.

Squid Worms (Teuthidodrilus samae) are interesting because they are remarkably abundant, and are relatively large for a deep sea creature. They measure about four inches in length. The name comes from the ten tentacles that protrude outward from the head. The Squid Worm also has iridescent bristles that run down the length of their body, aiding in movement. They feed off of plankton and small floating debris.

Another notable fact about the Squid Worm is that it might be a transitional species; and animal that stradles the line between species that reside on the sea floor, and those that swim openly. Such transitional species are important in understanding evolutionary history.

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