MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — An monumental black worm that lives in the mud of the ocean flooring and survives on the remnants of noxious gases digested by micro organism has been unveiled by scientists for the primary time.
The slimy giant shipworm can develop as much as 155 centimeters (5 ft) in size, regardless of residing a sedentary life in ocean sediment and apparently consuming nothing greater than the waste merchandise of the micro-organisms that reside in its gills.
“We are amazed. This is the first time we saw a shipworm as large as this. Usually, shipworms are only as short as a matchstick and are white,” Filipino marine biologist Julie Albano instructed AFP.
The shipworm shouldn’t be really a worm in any respect, however a bivalve — like mussels and clams — and has its personal brittle, tusk-like shell.
Also recognized by its scientific title Kuphus Polythalamia, the mollusk is radically completely different from its smaller shipworm cousins, which burrow in — and digest — wooden. Researchers who analyzed the creature discovered that though it had its personal digestive system , this was shrunken and gave the impression to be largely redundant.
Instead, Kuphus Polythalamia depends on micro organism that reside in its gills, which digest hydrogen sulphide — a gasoline that smells of rotten eggs — from the mud and emit traces of carbon. The course of is photosynthesis in crops, the place they take carbon dioxide from the air, use the carbon to develop and expel oxygen as a by-product.
“We suspected the giant shipworm was radically different from other wood-eating shipworms. Finding the animal confirmed that,” mentioned Margo Haygood, a analysis professor on the University of Utah who additionally took half in the research.
The discovery of the giant shipworm , a species by no means earlier than studied, marked the primary time scientists had reside specimens in hand, in line with an article printed this week in American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“This remarkable species remains to be fully described and explained,” the journal mentioned. Albano mentioned the giant shipworm was discovered in the coastal city of Kalamansig in southern Sultan Kudarat province and its micro organism at the moment are being studied for doable pharmaceutical use.
While the odd-looking animals are new to worldwide marine scientists, Albano mentioned, native individuals have clearly recognized all about them for years. “The shipworm is edible, tastes like an octopus,” she mentioned.
“Locals eat it and it serves as an aphrodisiac for them ,” she added.