New butt-regenerating sea worm named for monster from Godzilla films

The Ramisyllis kingghidorahi, named for the multiheaded Ghidorah of Godzilla fame, is a newly discovered sea worm with a bizarre branching body that is mostly found living inside of sea sponges. In a press release from the University of Göttingen in Germany, researchers explained (via Google Translate):

Branched sea worms are bizarre creatures with a head but a body that keeps branching into multiple rear ends. So far, only two species were known, which were considered extremely rare. An international research team led by the University of Göttingen in Japan has now discovered a third species.


The asymmetrically branched body was probably inherited from their last common ancestor, which had adapted to life in a spongy canal system. The basis for the evolutionary development towards the branched body could be based on three aspects: first, on the characteristic – typical for many worms – of producing new posterior segments throughout their life; second, on their ability to regenerate through regrowth; third, on the ability to simultaneously produce and shed multiple newly formed segments during reproduction.

So, if we're being technical, King Ghidorah might not be quite the most accurate comparison, with his three heads and two tails. Because these little wormies only have one head, but tons and tons of butts. Isn't evolution wonderful?

Ramisyllis kingghidorahi n. sp., a new branching annelid from Japan [M. Teresa Aguado, Guillermo Ponz-Segrelles, Christopher J. Glasby, Rannyele P. Ribeiro, Mayuko Nakamura, Kohei Oguchi, Akihito Omori, Hisanori Kohtsuka, Christian Fischer, Yuji Ise, Naoto Jimi & Toru Miura / Journal of Organisms, Diversity, and Evolution]

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