Nature

Look at This Sea Worm With a Creepy ‘Smiling’ Face Pulled From The Deep Ocean


A fisherman has shared a video of a surprise drawn up from the depths of the ocean. Included in the catch from a deep-sea trawling expedition was a sight most people never see in the wild: a wriggling worm that lives in the deep, dark ocean, where little light penetrates.

 

The footage was shared on Twitter by Roman Fedortsov – who gained social media acclaim for photos of some of his eerie deep-sea catches.

Many of the finds show fish with distended eyes and organs protruding from their mouths as a result of barotrauma – rapidly moving from a high-pressure ocean environment to a much lower-pressure atmospheric one.

The worm had survived the journey, though.

“Sometimes in the trawl I find [things like this],” he wrote. “If this creature could scream, it would scream like this …”

He added a high-pitched keening noise as a fake soundtrack to the worm’s squirming acrobatics: writhing its body, opening its mouth wide and retracting its head in what looks like a gaping grin (but is probably just the animal being stressed).

We couldn’t identify it precisely, but it looks like a species of marine polychaete worm, or bristle worm. These are abundant segmented worms with over 10,000 discrete species that live all over the ocean, from Arctic regions to hydrothermal vents, at all depths from the surface layer to the seafloor.

 

They cover a range of sizes, but most have one thing in common: each segment of their bodies has a pair of fleshy protrusions, from which extend chitinous bristles called chaetae.

The terrifying Bobbit worm is a polychaete worm, as is the dainty Christmas tree worm, and the giant tube worms that live near hydrothermal vents.

It’s not entirely clear what Fedortsov did with his scared little worm, but we hope it ended up safely back in the ocean depths.

 





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