Aquatic Life

Zombie Worms on the Ocean Floor

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Osedax worms don't have eyes, a mouth, or an anus. They eat by boring holes into bone with their root-like tendrils, then secreting an acid that dissolves the bone. They absorb and digest nutrients with the help of symbiotic bacteria within their bodies. Although Osedax was only recently discovered in 2002, scientists theorize that the worms have been around for millions of years, and may have impacted the fossil record by destroying the bones of ancient marine species.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Bone worms absorb nutrients through their "roots" with the help of bacteria. 00:23

  2. Scientists have sunk whale carcasses into Monterey Canyon in order to attract and study bone worms. 00:57

  3. There are at least 13 species of bone worm living in Monterey Bay alone. 01:31

Written by Curiosity Staff May 21, 2015