The Bobbit worm’s length and size, and jaws are strong like scissors or its ambush-style of hunting. There are many reasons to be scared of – and intrigued by the mysterious Sand striker ( Eunice aphroditois).
Learn 10 interesting–and a bit nightmare-inducing–facts about the infamous Bobbit worm.
Bobbit Worm Facts
The Bobbit Worm can be nearly 10-Feet long.
In 2009 the year 2009, the almost 10-foot-long Bobbit worm was found living in an aquaculture raft located in Shirahama, Japan. In the 13-year run of the fish pen, the Bobbit worm made its home on one of the floating ponds. The worm’s hidden home was only discovered after the raft was removed from service. The worm’s size was 299 cm (117 inches which is 9.8 feet). It comprised 673 segments and weighed 433 grams (15.27 pounds).
Others with similar lengths of Bobbit worms were observed in Australia and the Iberian Peninsula, although Bobbit worms with this length are not common. In general, Bobbit worms are about three feet long.
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They’ve been around for at least 20 Million Years.
The Bobbit mucus-secreting worm’s mucus and iron deposits (more about them in the next section) have enabled some Bobbit dens of worms to remain preserved in fossil records, for example, a 20 million-year-old Bobbit lair for worms within Taiwan. 1
Bobbit worms stand out in that they’re only one of a handful of worms with predatory characteristics that have ever been fossilized. The majority of other worms found in fossil records were believed to have been able to live from detritus or small pieces floating around in the water.
Bobbit Worms build Mucus-lined Burrows within the Seafloor.
It’s uncommon to see the Bobbit worm’s whole Body. In contrast, other species of the same family have an L-shaped hole in the sand to conceal themselves from detection.
When they reach sexual maturity after sexual maturity Bobbit worms have burrows lined with mucus to create a more permanent sand anchorage. The mucus’s proteins help strengthen the walls of the burrow, making it easier for the burrow to stay in position.
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They hunt by ambushing prey.
In their caves of sand, these worms underwater do everything they can to stay hidden. Some Bobbit Worms were observed to go to the extent of creating an antenna that resembles smaller ocean worms.
No matter if the prey is drawn to the Bobbit worm’s abode by the antenna decoy or bad luck, the Bobbit worm reacts instantly. The hidden creature is said to quickly take its Body from its burrow to grab the prey and then drag it back into its cave. The fight that ensues could erupt in a Bobbit entrance to the burrow of a worm.
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They’re Practically Blind
Bobbit worms have two eyes in the front part of their head. However, they’re almost blind. They rely on their antennae for detecting their prey.
They don’t also have a brain; Instead, they have the nerve cell cluster of the autonomic nervous system known as the ganglion.
Fish Defend Against Attacks with Water Jets
Fish in tropical waters can protect themselves against Bobbit worms using the tactic that scientists refer to as “mobbing.”
When the Peters monocle bream, an aquatic fish species attacked by the Bobbit worm, shoots intense water jets at the worm’s attacker. The other Peters monocle breams will join in a coordinated attack by launching additional water jets. Mobbing by the fish could induce the Bobbit worm to abandon the attacking.
Bobbit Worms can secretly create havoc in Aquariums.
Like the 10 feet undiscovered Bobbit worm found in the Japanese aquaculture pen, Bobbit worms have also been discovered lurking in aquariums.
In 2009 an aquarium in the U.K. discovered a four-foot Bobbit Worm within one of its tanks. The Bobbit worm was a threat to a variety of prized fish before when it was found.
In another instance, an aquarist at home discovered a Bobbit worm inside his fish tank. In both instances, the Bobbit worm broke into many pieces when it was handled. Even after being broken from each other, the Bobbit pieces of the worm appeared to remain alive.
Their Jaws are wider than their Body.
The Bobbit worm is equipped with two pairs of jaws with a scissor shape that extends far beyond the worm’s Body when opened. In the event of a predator that is not aware, The Bobbit is seated with its jaws protruding out of its burrow, fully open and ready to catch the next prey.
According to some research that has been made, according to some observations, the Bobbit jaws of the worm are robust that they could cut the prey of the worm in half. The Bobbit jaws of the worm are also extremely robust. Scientists have discovered jaws of Bobbit worms and their cousins preserved in fossil records.
Their Bristles are quite powerful.
Bobbit worms are part of the group Polychaeta, meaning “many hairs” in Greek.
Their bodies are covered with tiny bristles, which aid in bursting out of their burrows while hunting. These bristles enable them to hold onto the walls of their caves to keep their position while in hiding and draw their prey into the food chain.
Microbes deposit iron outside the Bobbit Worm’s Den.
Mucus released by Bobbit worm is packed with vitamins that microbes appreciate. Sulfate-reducing bacteria especially love the Bobbit worm’s mucus, rich in carbon. Through consuming Bobbit secretions of the worm, the microbes produce conditions for sulfide build-up.
Suppose a part in the burrow comes into contact with oxygen in seawater, such as the burrow’s lining and the burrow’s opening. In that case, the iron sulfide transforms into iron hydroxides such as hematite goethite or limonite.
In other areas of the Bobbit burrow, in which iron concentrations are lower small cracks within the sediments create an appearance similar to feathers.