Undulating Squid Worm Discovered in Vulnerable Depths
There is something mesmerizing about this clip of a squid worm, also named teuthidodrilus samae by researchers after it was 'discovered' recently in the depths of the Celebes Sea between Indonesian and the Philippines.
"This illustrates how much we have to learn about even the large, common inhabitants of deep pelagic communities," said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California researchers in this Guardian story.The worm, which is pale white when young but eventually turns dark butterscotch brown as an adult (and is covered with what is described as a 'gelatinous sheath'), slowly cruises up and down along the sea floor, eating plankton. The squid worm was discovered around 3,000 meters below sea level, and was first seen by the Max Rover Global Explorer robotic submersible Max Rover Global Explorer in 2007. It was revealed to the world with descriptions in last month's Biology Letters.
Sometimes teuthidodrilus samae is described as 'squidlike' but from the clip it looks more like an underwater centipede that moves in fascinating undulations.
Discovery blogger Ed Young describes the revelation of the squid worm like this:
"Some scientific discoveries are exciting because they have the potential to save lives and revolutionise the way we live. Others are exciting because they fundamentally change the way we view ourselves and the world around us. And others are exciting because they involve a worm with tentacles on its head."
To me, teuthidodrilus samae is fascinating because it once again demonstrates that there is more new and exciting in nature that has yet to be revealed, if we can work to maintain our oceans and natural environments. The ocean location where the squid worm was first seen is one of the richest remaining for new species discoveries.