Saturday, 24 January 2015

Bobbit Worm

This month’s creature looks like some space monster with its sharp scissor-like teeth. The Bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois) is an amazing but terrifying creature. Its name is a reference to the infamous John and Lorena Bobbitt incident in 1993. The name is inspired by the scissor like jaws and the common misbelief that the female Bobbit worm cuts off the male penis but that is false because they are broadcast spawners and they do not have penises.

Space Slug - Star Wars - Empire Strikes Back
We do not know a lot of information about the Bobbit worm but I will go over some of the stuff we do know. The worm grows to an average length of 1m (3ft, 3in) and an average diameter of 25mm (0.98in) but it is rumored to possible grow even larger than that. Growth like that reminds of the space slug that almost ate the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back. They like to live on the ocean floor in warm tropic waters at a depth of 46m (150ft) where they bury their long bodies into the ocean bed made up of either gravel, mud, or corals.

While buried they wait for their prey. They have five antennae that can sense movement close by. When something is sensed it will move at it with lighting speed and grab it with its sharp scissor teeth. It is known to cut the prey in half when it strikes. When it catches something it will then inject it with a narcotizing toxin so that it can then eat its catch in peace, this is especially helpful when the prey is larger than the worm. They will strike at anything and with teeth like that what is there for it be afraid of? I guess the Bobbit worm is the honey badger of the sea.

Little is known about the sexual habits of the Bobbit worm as it has not been completely observed. We know that are broadcast breeders which mean they spray the sperm and eggs into the water and let baby worms figure out everything for themselves. That may be why are so aggressive, pent up aggression for never having parents. It is believed that sexual reproduction happens earlier in their life, when they are about 100mm (3.9in) in length. We also do not know much about the life span of the worm but it is believed to live a long time which would explain how it can grow to such lengths.

The Bobbit worm was once accidentally introduced to an artificial environment. In October 2003 Maidenhead Aquatics in Woking, Surrey noticed their fish started going missing. They could not figure out what was happening. One day, a massive tank was leaking so they drained it and they discovered the sea monster that was eating their fish was a Bobbit worm. It was believed  to arrive as a stowaway in a rock ten years ago. Here is the link to the article:

With its terrifying teeth, its crazy length, and ability to cut stuff in half I nominate the Bobbit worm this months EPIC CREATURE.  Now go watch some happy cartoons so you don’t have nightmares.

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