Scale worms are usually small, and there are many different species that fall under the common name. At least one, Arctonoe vittata, famously enjoys a complex relationship with starfish. The worm lives in the starfish's sucker feet. There's a possibility that this commensal arrangement—neither animal really gets any special benefit from having the other around, but they aren't hurt by it either. On the other hand, a 1979 research paper found that A vittata and its starfish host will seek each other out—mutually—through mazes. The starfish will even choose to move toward the worm over its favorite food. And it's still not really clear why that is.
So these are interesting worms. In fact, they can look damn-near cute—almost like little roly-poly pill bugs. But those are the small ones. This guy is different.
The scale worm species Eulagisca is native to the Antarctic. Scientist and Deep Sea News blogger Miriam Goldstein found him in the Scripps Benthic Invertebrate Collection. Check out his size compared to the coffee cup, and tremble.
Not scared yet? Let's talk about the jaws of the scale worm. Here's something that many scale worm species share—mouths that make them look like extras from Aliens. Miriam has a photo of this specific specimen's jaws on Deep Sea News, but it doesn't quite capture the full horror. Below is a Smithsonian microscope image.
Read the rest of Miriam Goldstein's post at Deep Sea News
Read about the horrific jaws of scale worms and see more microscope images, courtesy the Real Monstrosities blog
Read about the relationship between scale worms and starfish at The Echinoblog
Scientists drilled into the Chixclub crater in the Gulf of Mexico to learn more about the end of the mesozoic era. They learned more than they expected, reports Katherine Kornei in The New York Times. The first day of the Cenozoic was peppered with cataclysms. When the asteroid struck, it temporarily carved a hole 60 […]
Get over it! Despite the mockers and complainers, and even attempts to make it illegal to perambulate while looking at your own damned phone, science concludes that the risks of it are negligible. As part of the mandated study, the DOT conducted an in-depth review of written crash narratives in the city between 2014 and […]
Typically, marine photography is done in rich, saturated color — the better to show off the riot of life beneath the waves. But the photographer Christian Vizl has done it in high-contrast black and white, producing eerily intense ways of re-seeing marine life. You can see the work on his site, and in his new […]
When it comes to data analytics or deep learning, there’s one language behind the apps and algorithms that power the biggest companies of today: Python. The best part about this tool is that as versatile as it is, it’s actually fairly easy to learn. But mastery? For that, you need more than just a beginners’ […]
Your smartphone’s GPS is a modern necessity for some trips, but how do you use it safely? It’s been a problem ever since phones went mobile. A certain phone mount even shelled out the money for a commercial during the Big Game, so clearly there’s a market for the solution. Turns out there are a […]
There’s reading for pleasure, and then there’s reading for fuel; absorbing the great ideas in nonfiction books so you can apply them in your own life. In today’s hectic pace, it can be difficult to find the time to do that reading – especially for the entrepreneurs and professionals who can benefit the most from […]