General, Research, Technology

The longest worms in the world: when did they live and what did they look like?

About 400 million years ago on our planetthere lived predatory sea worms that reached 2 meters in length. This, at least, is evidenced by the huge holes that were found off the coast of present-day Taiwan. Since the bodies of the worms are mainly composed of soft tissue, by now the remains of the ancient monsters have completely decayed and disappeared. But even based on the shape of the minks and the textures on their walls, scientists can tell a lot about them. It is already known for certain that giant worms were predators and fed on small fish. They hid their huge bodies underground, and outside showed only a small part of the mouth. When potential victims swam over them, the worms quickly grabbed them and buried themselves completely for a while. It sounds like the description of a monster from a horror movie, but such creatures did exist. And they still exist ...

The hunt of an ancient worm as seen by the artist

Giant worms of antiquity

About the discovery of a two-meter hole of an ancient wormwas reported in the scientific journal Scientific Reports. According to the lead author of the study, Yu-Yen Pan, usually the burrows of ancient worms have a maximum depth of several tens of centimeters. But the hole found on the water bottom is huge, and it's not just about the depth - the width of the hole is three centimeters. That is, the ancient worm that left behind this hole was a very long and rather thick creature. On the walls of the fossilized burrow, a feathery texture is noticeable, that is, the surface of the worm's body was ribbed, not smooth.

The length of the Bobbit worm is shown on the left (we'll talk about it below), and on the right is the ancient monster

Scientists have previously found similar burrows, butslightly less. The authors of the scientific work studied 319 such finds and came to the conclusion that the hole was made by a new species of ancient worms for science - Pennichnus formosae. According to scientists, the worms hid in sedimentary rocks and quickly caught fish swimming above them. Burrows of predatory worms are usually boomerang-shaped, that is, somewhere in the middle, they bend at an angle of 45 degrees. At the top of the burrow, right at the entrance, scientists have found funnel-shaped tracks. Most likely, they were left by the fish trying to free themselves. Judging by the composition of the burrow walls, they were reinforced with worm mucus.

See also: How can worms get in a person’s eyes?

Sea monsters in reality

Sounds like something nasty and scary.Just imagine that somewhere at the bottom of the seas and oceans, from time to time, toothy worms appear and drag off the victims - this is a nightmare! But such creatures exist to this day. We are talking about the so-called Bobbit worms (Eunice aphroditois), which got their name in honor of the criminal Lorena Bobbit. Once she cut off her husband's penis and this story was very scandalous in the XX century. Bobbit worms can reach 3 meters in length, so today they rightfully have the status of the longest worms in the world.

Bobbit worm while hunting

For the Bobbit worm on our website there is a separatematerial in which I tried to tell all the most interesting about him. For example, in the article I told a story about how one of the individuals accidentally ended up inside the aquarium and, unnoticed by the staff, devoured fish. And of course, I did not keep silent about Laurena Bobbit, after whom these terrible worms are named. To learn more about the life of modern predatory worms and the horrors that were happening in the family of John and Lorena Bobbit, follow this link.

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It is important to note that the Bobbit worms are the largestfrom sea worms. Such huge worms do not exist on land. But there are quite large species, for example, representatives of the Bipalium species. Their body length reaches 60 centimeters, and they use earthworms and even slugs as food. Recently it became known that these unpleasant-looking creatures began to spread to different parts of the planet. This is very disturbing news because they are not very beneficial, but very dangerous for animals. But how do they manage to spread across the planet and why are they so harmful? Read in this article.