Aug 15, 2008

New Nemertean

Morgan sent me these photos of a new species of nemertean worm (Monostilifera sp.) found in the Caribbean. Their coloring might disqualify them for this blog, but don't worry, I'm justified in posting on them.

Nemerteans are primitive even for worms. They are hunters, and kill by shooting their proboscis into their prey like a stun gun. And, AND, they produce more slime than the infamous hagfish. Morgan has witnessed firsthand a nemertean worm being placed in a petrie dish, the worm then filling the dish with slime, and thereby sealing itself in. How's that for ugly?


There, have I sold ya yet?

Thanks for the worms, Morgan.

Photo source: Eurekalert.com

9 comments:

Tessa said...

They're gorgeous.

niner said...

They're pretty to look at but still wormy. I'm still on the fence, sorry! Posting more bugs/insects with eggs on their backs would definitely put me over the edge though.

Kit said...

They're oddly decorated and kinda for a worm... but a hunting worm is still gross! No one goes around shooting their proboscis at me!

Casey said...

Am I reading the measurements correctly? These worms are 5-15 *meters* long??? That's a whole lot of iridescent, ramming-speed worm!

Anonymous said...

Tessa has a brain, not sure why she is hanging around here. Hard to believe the rest of you even know how to use a computer. A simple Google reveals that Morgan's lumping of random information is worthy of National Enquirer, but maybe that's the purpose here. This particular nemertean is a mm (that's millimeter for some of you) or less in diameter and 20 cm long. Some other species get to 15 m long. Nemerteans can produce a lot of slime but nowhere near as much as a hagfish. You may think ugly, I think smart. It contains noxious compounds and keeps them from being eaten They don't kill their prey by shooting the proboscis. About half the species can inject a neurotoxin and paralyze the prey, then eat the prey live. The other half just use the proboscis like an elephant trunk to capture prey and then swallow it. And they do a whole lot of other cool stuff, if you can open your eyes and brain a bit.

niner said...

(1).Nemertea P

Nemertean worms are active, benthic predators that use an eversible, sticky or barbed, and sometimes poisonous proboscis to capture prey (Fig 11-4).
http://webs.lander.edu/rsfox/invertebrates/tetrastemma.html

(2). Most nemerteans are carnivorous and predatory, catching prey with their proboscis [4],
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemertea

(3). Attacks with the proboscis, before consumption of the prey started, were concentrated ...
cisti-icist.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/journals.old/cjz/z02-095.sgml

(4.) However, most other invertebrate zoologists kept referring to the group by its earlier name of Nemertea; a name derived from the name of the ancient Greek Sea Nymph or Nereid, known as Nemertes, "the unerring one." This was also an appropriate name for these worms in that the proboscis is unerring and always spears or grabs the prey.
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-01/rs/index.php

While they may not "kill" they're prey directly with the proboscis, some species can have barbed and poisonous ones that also spear it.

I am fairly sure everyone here is capable of using a computer and researching their own beliefs and ideas. I am not sure, however, if most people here are capable of belittling or decrying people such as you though!

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks, niner.

morgan said...

Of course, they're always anonymous!

Now, Mr. Wombat has spared you all from the fistfuls of ugly nemerteans that I also sent along in my big grab bag of "Nemertean Enquirer" news, but those who read the comments will not get off so easily! Mwahahaha...
http://www.marlin.ac.uk/imgs/Species/Nemertea/o_linlon.jpg
http://dict.zhuaniao.com/images/words/244/283/0/2.jpg

booge said...

I was looking for this one, the older post with the video of another Nemertean in action, sent in by Peer.

http://uglyoverload.blogspot.com/2008/03/off-florida-coast.html

I still think they look like prolapsed intestines, but these look also like Tron.

Internet bullies, always so weird when they join a comment thread. But then I'm a librarian, so they beat up on me at work as well. These folks love to be bigger than librarians--that's why we have to make our reference desks all low, for reals for reals.