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They find a spaghetti worm shaped like a pom pom

The spaghetti worm is a type of polychaete worm belonging to the family Terebellidae. So far, about 400 different species of terebellids have been described, which are found all over the world. It is relatively common and is characterized by having a good number of ribbed tentacles that it uses to feed itself. As with other terebellids, Biremis lives at the bottom of the ocean, but while most remain inside a tube or in a burrow, this species has been observed resting on the seafloor or swimming just above it. Swimming allows the worm to move easily and find new places to feed.

MBARI researchers use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to document the biodiversity of the deep sea. They have made more than 6100 dives in deep waters and from time to time they have found an animal that has amazed them, like this new species of Biremis.

Researchers believe that in the mysterious deep waters of the ocean there are more peculiar creatures waiting to be discovered. Although naming a species may seem like a simple task, the truth is that it is a process that takes time and dedication: you have to collect specimens, examine the key characteristics that distinguish each species, sequence the DNA and finally assign it a scientific name. The species from the Gulf of California has not yet been described., but the team hopes to formally publish a detailed description in the scientific literature once they learn more about its appearance, genetics, and natural history. In the last 35 years, MBARI researchers have discovered more than 240 new species, including 30 worms.

“Although we have yet to discover and describe most of the species that live in the deep ocean, these animals face a fragile future. Threats such as overfishing, pollution and climate change extend to deep waters as well. Because we know so little about the deep ocean, MBARI’s efforts to document the diversity of life in this realm are laying the foundation for understanding how these threats will affect deep-sea communities,” the researchers say in a published statement. on the MBARI website.

Reference: Schlining. K. 2022. August 2, 2022. Robots documenting deep-sea biodiversity reveal a spectacular spaghetti worm.

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