First Living Giant Shipworm Discovered In Philippines

Posted: Apr 18 2017, 8:06am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

First Living Giant Shipworm Discovered in Philippines
Examining a Kuphus polythalamia. CREDIT: Marvin Altamia
  • The Unicorn of Mollusks: Huge Alien Creature of the Deep Blue Sea fascinates Scientists

A huge alien creature of the deep blue sea has fascinated scientists. It is actually a shipworm that dwells in a shell.

While the biodiversity of the planet is getting lesser by the second due to mankind’s polluting ways, there are still new species that keep turning up everyday. A group of scientists has chanced upon a worm-like animal of the marine depths that has never been seen before. It is a giant black slithery mud-dwelling worm that looks like an alien creature. It doesn’t consume a lot of food. Instead it gets its nutrients from sulphur. The finding was published in an online journal yesterday.

People knew about this strange beast since eons though. It just hadn’t been classified. It is three to five feet in length and has a tusk-like exterior protective shell.

While this shell had been a common feature, no one had peered into it to get a clear view of the hideous animal inside. Its ecological niche also remained a mystery.

A video clip taken in the region off the coast of the Philippines showed many such creatures planted like radishes or carrots in the muddy bed of a shallow lagoon. The scientists later on found live samples of this strange animal.

Termed the Kuphus polythalamia, this worm-like creature is actually a giant shipworm. One of the scientists washed the sticky mud covering the exterior shell of this creature and tapped it out.

As it slithered on the table, the team of experts gathered around to study it released voices of surprise and shock. They were flabbergasted when they took a gander at this surreal monster.

It was so large. This shipworm was thought to differ from other run-of-the-mill shipworms. This was later on confirmed.

The scientists are learning more and more about this shipworm. They are curious to know a whole lot about it. The shipworm was found in a lagoon filled with rotten wood.

This creature tunnels into wood that has found its way to the ocean floor and digests it while it rots. This it does with the help of bacteria. Its environment is very smelly and fetid.

The mud surrounding it emits hydrogen sulphide. The shipworm relies on bacteria that live in its gills to supply it wit nutrients. Otherwise, it doesn’t eat much.

The bacteria use hydrogen sulphide as energy to manufacture organic carbon that feeds the shipworm. This partially resembles the way plants use sunlight in the presence of water to make carbon compounds from carbon dioxide.

The details about this discovery got published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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