Meet the bone-eating snot-flower worm


Osedax mucofloris—otherwise known as the bone-eating snot-flower worm—is a species of undersea worm discovered in 2005. It eats the bones of deceased whales. On the surface of the bone, the worm looks like a curly, pink flower. Burrowed into the bone is a mass of worm-y tissue that, presumably, does the actual eating.


  1. I imagine “bone-eating snot-flower worm” would translate fabulously into German. Any takers? (No, Google, not you.)

  2. Thanks for invitation to meet your worm friend Maggie. I do not wish to have my bones eaten today, and have all the snot I need. Should my circumstances change I will get back to you.

  3. knochenessige”mocus” blumenwurm is my best guess…. My German is a bit rusty.Flor Gusano mucoso come huesos, in spanish

  4. Google Translate has a wonderful German translation:

    “Knochen-Essen Rotz-flower-Wurm”


    1. Yet wrong.

      Knochenfressender Rotzblumenwurm.

      Or Scheimblumenwurm.

      Depends on how polite you want to be.

      Is ”Snot“ understood to mean nasal mucus only?

      1. “Snot” in colloquial English means nasal mucus, but I have heard molecular biologists refer to other mucus informally as “snot”. The polite version as ‘mucopolysaccarides'; ‘polysaccaride snot’ was used when one wanted to emphasize the chemical characteristics. So the nasal denotation isn’t essential, however much the connotation resonates with “bone-eating”.

  5. Peter Bruells’ translation is correct. But: “Schleimblumenwurm”, not “Scheim…”.

    Knochenverzehrender Schnodderblütenwurm would also work.

  6. Peter’s translation is good, but: somehow in the English name, the genus and species got reversed. It should really be a snot-flower bone-eating worm, or Schleimblumen Knochenfresser-Wurm.

    And in fact, Knochenfresser-Wurm is what Osedax are actually called in German, although I couldn’t find any name for this particular species. So if you need to talk to any Hamburger marine biologists about them, you won’t be misunderstood.

    1. Actually, when I did the translation I mixed up the compounds and started working on the bone-earting snot-mouth worm. So my first try was the Knochenfressender Rotzschnauzwurm.

      I’m so in favor of anyone finding that beast.

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