by Piter Kehoma Boll
Today’s Friday Fellow probably looks like a creature coming directly from hell to the poor sea animals that are its prey. Well, it looks quite scary even for humans! Its name is Eunice aphroditois, a beautiful name. Popularly it is known as the Bobbit worm and looks like a colorful nightmare.
The Bobbit worm is a polychate worm and is one of the largest known annelids, with several records of individuals reaching up to 1 m in length, and even one record of a specimen that was almost 3 m long. It is found in warm waters all around the world, in the Atlantic, the Indian and the Pacific oceans.
Being an ambush predator, the Bobbit worm buries itself into the ocean floor, among the sediments, and waits for a delicious meal to swim over it. Once a prey is detected, the Bobbit worm projects itself forward and captures it with its sharp teeth.
The name “Bobbit worm” was coined in 1996 and refers to Lorena Bobbitt, who became publicly known in 1993 after cutting off her husband’s penis with a knife while he was asleep. The name seems to be inspired in the worm’s scissor-like jaws and has nothing to do with the female cutting off the male’s penis. In fact, those worms release the gametes in the water, so that there isn’t even a sexual intercourse.
Despite its popularity, being even raised as a “pet” sometimes, little is known about the Bobbit worm’s ecology. If you happen to have one in your fishtank, make some research and publish it!
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Uchida, H.; Tanase, H.; Kubota, S. (2009) An extraordinarily large specimen of the polychaete worm Eunice aphroditois (Pallas) (Order Eunicea) from Shirahama, Wakayama, central Japan. Kuroshio Biosphere 5: 9-5.
Wikipedia. Eunice aphroditois. Available at < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunice_aphroditois >. Access on January 31, 2017.
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