Sunday, January 29, 2017

ZooWeird 60

A doggerel series about odd or little-known animals.

Osedax worms. Osedax is a genus of weird, deep-sea polychaetes worms, commonly known as boneworms, zombie worms, or bone-eating worms. The story of these creatures began twelve years ago, when researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) first discovered them, using the submarine ROV Tiburon in Monterey Bay, California, in February 2002. The worms were found living on the bones of a decaying gray whale, thus the name “bone-eating,” which alludes to how the worms bore into the bones of whale carcasses to reach enclosed lipids, on which they rely for sustenance. Since then, researchers have described more than 15 bone-eating species of Osedax. What is so interesting about these animals is the extreme sexual size dimorphism they exhibit. Male Osedax are microscopic dwarfs that live as “harems” inside the lumen of the gelatinous tube that surrounds each female. An individual female can house hundreds or even thousands of these males in her tube. (All animal info from

These worms are connoisseurs of bones—
To them a snack food (ice cream cones!).

I don’t like thinking what they eat—
For I have bones, from head to feet.

The thought I’m eaten by a worm?
I’m so opposed—on that I’m firm.

So here’ a thought to make them squirm:
Spaghetti dinner—made with worm!

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