Have Big “Lips”

Acorn worm picture: new deep-sea species found

Rosy Acorn Worm

Photograph courtesy David Shale

Sporting a bright fuchsia hue, this new species of acorn worm was recently found some 8,850 feet (2,700 meters) deep near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The colorful creature is one of more than 12 new species and at least 4 new genera of worms discovered during two recent deep-sea expeditions, scientists have confirmed.

Acorn worm picture: new deep-sea species feeding on seafloor

Healthy Appetite

Photograph courtesy ISIS ROV

This new species of acorn worm appears to have a healthy appetite, as evidenced by the telltale pattern inscribed on seafloor sediments.

While shallow-water burrowing worms simply wait to feed on whatever passes by, deep-sea species must move around to find food.

“They feed outward, in a circle, e

ating the surface layers of sediment—the freshest layers of [nutrient-rich] sediment that have more recently sunk down through the water column,” Osborn explained.

Acorn worm picture: new deep-sea species

Loose Lips

Photograph courtesy MBARI

This newly discovered speci

es of acorn worm splays its long “lips,” which stretch nearly the length of its body. The lips are covered with tiny hairs that pick up particles of food off the seafloor and pass them to the worm’s mouth.

Acorn worm picture: newfound species with mysterious purple color

Seafloor “Flower”

Photograph courtesy NOAA OOER

Lying like a flower on the seafloor, this newfound acorn worm has a color that poses an intriguing question for scientists.

“Why this brilliant purple, the dark reds, these amazing colors at depths where there is no light? I can’t tell you,” Osborn said.

“We see brilliant purples and reds [in other worm species] at depths of 500 or 1,000 meters [1,640 or 3,280 feet] where there is very little light, because [such colors] look black there, so those colors are great camouflage.

Acorn worm picture: new deep-sea species floating

Expert Floaters

Photograph courtesy David Shale

A recently discovered species of acorn worm floats in the water column, one of the survival abilities the creatures have developed for life in the deep.

The worms’ delicate, gelatinous bodies allow them to easily float up to 65 feet (20 meters) above the seafloor as well as to move around in search of food—an ability that initially shocked scientists.

Acorn worm picture: a new deep-sea species curled up

Living Fossil

Photograph courtesy MBARI ROV Tiburon

In an evolutionary sense, acorn worms (pictured, a newfound species) are living fossils—part of a little-known group that may bridge the gap betweeninvertebrates and the first vertebrate animals.

Acorn worm picture: new deep-sea species leaves a zigzag

Zigzag in the Sand

Photograph courtesy MBARI

A feeding acorn worm leaves a distinctive zigzag trail in the seafloor sediment. Such patterns helped scientists discover the animals and realize their importance to the seafloor ecosystem,

Acorn worm picture: new deep-sea species among many

One of Many

Photograph courtesy David Shale

The new study confirms that the previously recorded acorn worm seen above is in fact a new species. Many more new acorn worm species are probably waiting to be found in the world’s seas,



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source: nationalgeographic.in


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