Pigbutt Worm

The Pigbutt worm, also known as Haetopterus pugaporcinus, is a small organism that resides in the oxygen minimum zone. The worm lacks limbs to move around and feeds on pelagic phytoplankton. It drifts with the mucus it produces and is about the size of a marble ball. The worm’s mucus helps it trap phytoplankton and marine protists. Additionally, these worms have the ability to bioluminesce by releasing particles that glow blue.

Scientists are still trying to determine whether this worm is a larva or an adult. It is difficult to determine because these worms grow to be 5 to 10 times larger than other hatopteroid larvae, which suggests that it is an adult. However, the adults prefer to live in tubes on the sea floor. They also do not have sexual organs. Scientists assume that the worms suddenly stop living at the bottom of the sea and make an evolutionary leap.

MBARI – Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, about pigbutt worm.

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