A Happy Samhain to all my Pagan and Wicca friends and a happy All Hallows Eve to everyone else (well in two days anyway. And the Cuteness stops here, made extinct along with the very soon to vanish Vaquita. As much as I'd like to say enjoy this Issue I know I’d probably be lying.
Issue #37 - Antarctic Proboscis Worm
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Nemerta
Class – Anopla
Order – Hetroemerta
Family – Cerebratulidae
Genus – Parborlasia
Species – corrugatus
Related Species - The Proboscis Worm is one of almost 500 species of Nemertean Worm found in the family Cerebratulidae (1)
The Antarctic Proboscis Worm is a large ribbon worm that grows up to 2m in length and a width of 2cm. The colouration of the species ranges from cream to black, but despite this all colourations are not distinct enough to have their own subspecies. The Proboscis Worm breathes through its skin, and in water where oxygen levels are low it flattens itself to increase its surface area in order to increase oxygen absorption rates. Unlike some worm species the Proboscis Worm isn’t a hermaphrodite and requires a partner to reproduce.
Like the majority of Marine Worms the Proboscis Worm is both a predator and a scavenger, and uses a barbed proboscis for catching prey. Using a rudimentary ‘water jet’ system in a cavity inside the head, the worm can fire it’s proboscis at prey before dragging it back towards the worm itself (2). Despite their size Proboscis Worms have no natural predators thanks to a chemical defensive system that releases a powerful acid into the water around them
Right now you probably think the terror is over…
Well they don't call me Impurest for nothing. As fitting the time of year I bring you the Proboscis Worm’s neighbour…
Issue #37a - Eulagisca gigantea
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Annelidia
Class – Polycheta
Order – Aciculata
Family – Polynoidae
Genus – Eulagisca
Species – gigantea
Related Species - Eulagisca gigantea is a polychete worm. Not surprisingly it’s distantly related to another creature featured in Impurest’s Guide to Animals; the Bobbit Worm (1)
The Armoured Worm
Eulagisca gigantea is a worm that grows up to eight inches long and is covered with tiny protective scales across their body. Sprouting from the flanks of the worm are multiple sensory bristles to detect changes in water quality, temperature and any movement in the immediate area. Around the head are numerous palaps and tentacles to aid the tiny eyes of Eulagisca gigantea to navigate the world around it (3).
Unsurprisingly Eulagisca gigantea is predatory and sports a large pair of jaws, up to three inches in length that retracts into the head of the worm when not in use. Inside the mouth are a pair of grinding fangs that are used to crunch through the shells of crustaceans. Presumably Eulagisca gigantea has natural predators or it wouldn't have need for the armoured scales it possesses, although at current said predator has yet to be observed interacting with the potential prey species.
1 - www.arkive.org
2 - http://peterbrueggeman.com/nsf/fguide/nemertina.pdf
3 - http://eol.org/pages/406461/overview
1 - http://may.plumbweb.net/etc/Taxons/images/nemer.jpg
2 - http://invertebrates.si.edu/antiz/distribution_maps.cfm?taxa=7108
3 - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Proboscis_worm.JPG
4 - http://blogs.c.yimg.jp/res/blog-62-b9/baruzi1968/folder/807655/68/53715368/img_1?1377608459
5 - http://invertebrates.si.edu/antiz/distribution_maps.cfm?taxa=4147
6 - http://i.crackedcdn.com/phpimages/article/9/8/5/143985.jpg?v=1
Well there you go; two Antarctic Worm Species that will make you rethink that polar SCUBA diving expedition. Next week we future an insect that takes ‘body armour’ to a whole new extreme but until then, comment, query and of course check out past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary.
Have a Merry Samhain