Walk without rhythm

hydro-worm-2908.jpeg Hydrothermal Worm imaged on a Quanta SEM [FEI via JWZ]


  1. Please tell me this is a nice worm and not some kind of horrid parasite. Nightmares! Do Not Want!

  2. And just like that, I am compelled to watch the film clip for Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim. Whenever anyone mentions it, or mentions the line from it that was originally in Dune, I have to watch it.

    It’s a sickness. A fever, if you will. And the only precription – is more Walken.

  3. it needs a needle tip to highlight the relative size.
    how many can fit on the head of a pin?

    1. Now how many people remember the Shai-Halud? Unless they have been consuming spice, o’ course…

  4. These bastards should have been in Honey, I shrunk the Kids! Would have been a MUCH more entertaining movie.

  5. That’d make an awesome velour plushtoy.

    Or Halloween costume. No, don’t put the candy in the bag, just drop it right here in the mouth. Or else! Om nom nom.

    1. That’d make an awesome velour plushtoy.

      I was thinking the same thing. Someone should make a series of microorganism plushtoys, if it hasn’t already been done.

    1. Exemption? This is what rule 34 is FOR.

      Extra points if this little bugger is hermaphroditic, or has bedbug-style “traumatic insemination”, or mantis-style “sexual cannibalism”.

  6. At first I thought: “Wow. What fucked up artist created that ugly nightmare sculpture?”
    Upon reading the caption: “Oh. Electron microscope image. It’s REAL.”

  7. *sigh*

    Look at those baby blue eyes. THE NEXT HOST OF “SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE” is what we’re lookin’ at here, folks.

  8. Walk without rhythm

    Of course, to these things, we’re the improbably large creatures that live in unbearably dry places.

  9. good thing the aliens who were building the pyramids ran across these things when they were the size of a bus and used a shrink ray on them.looks like they also exiled them to the depths of the planet for good measure.

  10. HAH! I assumed the title was from Tremors and wondered why all you dummies were referencing Dune. Then I looked up the phrase. ME <-- idjit. W'ever. It looks like a Graboid more than anything to me.

    1. Yep. They had a Tremors maarathon last weekend on the local cable annex.

      “Broke into the wrong gol-durned rec-room, didn’t ‘cha?!?!?”

        1. After closer examination I noticed the awesome hooks on the lower jaw, so I propose a subspecies clarification: “Archietoothus Badass Hookemhorns” as a cheap reference to my Alma Mater.

  11. Wow, they really do walk among us. Or squirm, wriggle or something! Thank the Gods those are microscopic; imagine the hysteria if they were macroscopic, say about the size of your arm…

  12. It looks like a claymation character. Maybe something from a Tim Burton movie or a Douglas TenNapel game. Very weird and impossible to look away from.

    That said, look at its mouth structure. It’s very elegant for such a tiny creature. I bet, on its scale of existence, that worm is a bad motherfugly.

  13. what strikes me is that amazingly vertebrate-like lower jaw. it’s a great example of convergent evolution, since it derives from different body parts than the vertebrate jaw.

    1. Great point. I was thinking the same thing… that totally looks like a vertebrate’s jaw.

  14. Bless the Maker and all His Water. Bless the coming and going of Him, May His passing cleanse the world. May He keep the world for his people.

  15. ‘I shall bend as a reed in the wind’ was the first that came to mind…
    but on second thought I suppose the better quote would be.. ‘We have worm sign, Usul, the likes of which God has never seen.’

  16. Showed the photo to a mate over a couple of beers tonight down the pub, we’ve decided it’s actually a Mongolian Death Worm. Well, I frankly can’t think of a better name for the fugly little critter.

  17. The company that took that has a Flickr account with lots of amazing and horrific microscopic images. This one is an even scarier angle of a worm. Also, this image reveals the terrible secret that ladybugs start life on the opposite end of the cuteness spectrum.

  18. Hail, adventurer. I am making a batch of my grandmother’s spicy wormtusk stew, but it looks like I’m fresh out of wormtusks! would reward you handsomely if you’d collect 12 of them from the Hydrothermal Worms that lurk in the waters north of town…

  19. If you’re like me, you crave details on the real critter when you see cool pictures like this. I’m no expert, but a little sleuthing leads me to believe this is a scale-worm of species Lepidonotopodium piscesae, first documented by Marian Pettibone, 1988 (PDF). See another scanning electronic microscope image of those nasty chompers here; more details at EOL.

  20. And the FEI SEM photo contest:


    In 2010, FEI invited owners and users of our microscopes to submit their best nano-scale images for a chance to win great prizes. Dr. Harald Plank of the Institute of Electron Microscopy, and Dr. Clifford Barnes of University of Ulster won the grand prizes for their amazing entries.

    This year, FEI invites owners and users to submit their best SEM, TEM, DualBeam, and FIB images for a chance to win Apple.com gift cards, and this year’s grand prize – a Nikon D7000 DSLR Camera with 18-200mm VR II lens and carrying case.

    Winners will be announced on fei.com August 1, 2011.

  21. Definitely pitching this to the 4 year-old as 2011 Halloween costume. (The older kid would want to emasculate it by losing the teeth and adding a unicorn horn.)

  22. Maybe if we start a rumour that the top horn is a powerful aphrodisiac, we could help save the rhinocerous from extinction.

  23. Maybe something we can expect to see in the depths of Europa’s oceans? (if we ever get there)

  24. If you scale down your fear of predatory fangs (and such) and look at it from a braver point of view…such as how the heck do we NATURALLY clean up a planet-worth of scavenged carrion (or some other form of decomposition or wastage), there is a tenuous, respectful but sound kind of beauty to be found in those awful chompers.

    Each one is slightly rotated…what up with that?!

    Such a leap of appreciation however is really about your tolerance/ fear level though.

    I found the following quote a helpful thought for arm chair adventurer… I bumbled across it on the National Geographic Channel the other night:

    “There is a meal for everything on this interconnected planet”

    Does that quote not help a little bring those awful vicious looking teeth down to a manageable size for you?

    1. It would were I not imagining now, as when I first saw the picture, that somewhere down in the dark depths of its maw there are a second set of choppers waiting to lunge out even further.

  25. If I were a small, liberal arts college, this would totally be my mascot. But since I’m not, it still totally will be anyway.

  26. All things dull and ugly, All creatures short and squat, All things rude and nasty, The Lord God made the lot.

  27. I was curious about the identity of this critter, so I contacted a friend who has studied hydrothermal vents. His reply:

    “Probably belonging to the genus Alvinella or Paralvinella. These are relatively small vent worms that have numerous filamentous sulfur bacteria attached to their outer surface. Unlike the large vent worms with internal symbionts Alvinella etc. probably graze on bacteria and archaea as food sources, hence the rather dramatic mouth. There was a highly controversial (= almost certainly wrong) claim about the upper temperature limits of these worms being well above that of any other known metazoan.”


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