The bone-eating slug flower, Osedax mucofloris, is seen in water with feathery tendrils on its head and a clump of roots at the other end.

Discovery in the deep sea: bugs that eat bones | DayDayNews

TonThe deep ocean is home to a group of animals that look like small plants. They have no mouth, no stomach, and no anus. They live in a tube with a feathery red feather sticking out from one end and a clump of roots sticking out from the other.

They were first spotted by deep-sea scientists in 2002, when they came across a whale skeleton nearly 3,000 meters deep in California’s Monterey Bay as a furry carpet.Samples brought by a deep-dive robot showed these were not plants but bone-eating worms, now officially called Ossedax— Bone eater in Latin.

The ocean is one of the last truly wild spaces in the world. It’s full of fascinating species that sometimes seem to border the absurd, from fish looking up through their transparent heads to golden snails in iron armor. We know more about deep space than we know about the deep ocean, and science is only just beginning to scratch the surface of the rich and diverse life in the depths.

As mining companies push to industrialize the seafloor and global leaders continue to debate how to protect the high seas, the new Guardian Seascape series will feature some of the weird, wonderful, majestic, absurd, stubborn and exciting creatures recently discovered. They reveal There’s still much to learn about Earth’s least-known environments—and how much to protect.

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What are the findings in the depth series?

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The ocean is one of the last truly wild spaces in the world. It’s full of fascinating species that sometimes seem to border the absurd, from fish looking up through their transparent heads to golden snails in iron armor. We know more about deep space than we know about the deep ocean, and science is only just beginning to scratch the surface of the rich and diverse life in the depths.

As mining companies push to industrialize the seafloor and global leaders continue to debate how to protect the high seas, the new Guardian Seascape series will feature some of the weird, wonderful, majestic, absurd, stubborn and exciting creatures recently discovered. They reveal There’s still much to learn about Earth’s least-known environments—and how much to protect.

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Once scientists knew how to look for them, the hunt for bone-eating worms (also known as zombie worms) began in earnest. The team dragged the dead, stranded whale out to sea and sank into the deep sea. Landing devices deliver packages of animal bones to the seabed — pigs, cows, turkeys — and retrieve them months or years later to see what infects them.

“Basically, wherever we put the bones, we find [the worms],” said Greg Rouse of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, who discovered and described the Ossedax.

More than 30 species from all over the world have been discovered so far. There are bone-eating snot flowers, sticky peonyfirst found near Sweden. Guava Found near a hydrothermal vent more than 2,000 meters deep in the Arctic, and named after the wolf Fenris, son of the Norse god Loki, in 2020.

The bone-eating worms range in size from the length of a little finger to less than the length of an eyelash. The ones visible to the naked eye are usually women. Males are mostly small and do not eat bones. They live in dozens or hundreds of “harems” inside the female’s mucus tubes, waiting for her eggs to emerge so they can be fertilized immediately.

All the energy these diminutive males get comes from their mothers through their yolks. Once they run out of energy stores, they die. “We call them the kamikazes,” said Robert Vrijenhoek, a retired evolutionary biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California and one of the original members. Ossedax– Find teams.

Bone-eating snot flowers, Osedax mucofloris, Seen in the water, it has feathery tendrils on its head and a clump of roots at the other end. Photo: Natural History Museum/Alamy

A sort of, Scutellaria, do things differently. Rouse and his colleagues named it after the ancient Greek god of fertility, as depicted in erotic frescoes. These males are similar in size to females and have a long, extendable torso that they can use to pass through bones.

“I call it Roaming Bones,” Rouse said. When they find a female, these males release sperm stored in their heads.

feed, Ossedax Just like humans produce stomach acid, holes are etched in bones by producing acid.Paleontologists, looking for when Ossedax Worm evolution has uncovered apparent holes in the 100-million-year-old fossilized bones of plesiosaurs, one of the giant marine reptiles that once roamed the ocean.

Genetic studies support this theory Ossedax It’s been around since at least the Cretaceous period, long before whale bones were available to eat.

Despite all the new species discovered, no one has found any Ossedax larva. It’s unclear how the worms found the bones. It is believed they may have wandered around until they found a skeleton, possibly guided by chemicals floating in the water.

Research Ossedax DNA suggests that the worms lived in large and interconnected populations, and could be a stepping stone for whale bones and other large vertebrates to be stripped of scavengers. “Ossedax Probably just jump, jump and jump, all the way across the ocean,” Vrijenhoek said.

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