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Bobbit Worm

Eunice aphroditois

Description:

This is one worm that you don't want to mess with even though you are only likely to see 5-8 cm of them outside their hole or above the sandy bottom. The name "Bobbit worm" was coined in the 1996 book Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific, in reference to Lorena Bobbitt, who was then very much in the public consciousness. The name is inspired only by the scissorlike jaws of the worm; the common supposition from the name that female eunicids cut off the males' penises is baseless, and the worms in fact lack penises entirely, as they are broadcast spawners. Bobbit Worm is an aquatic predatory polychaete worm dwelling at the ocean floor. An ambush predator, the animal buries its long body into an ocean bed composed of gravel, mud, or corals, where it waits for a stimulus to one of its five antennae, attacking when it senses prey. Armed with sharp teeth, it is known to attack with such speed that its prey is sometimes sliced in half. They inject a toxin in their prey, which stuns or kills it, such that prey much larger than the worm itself can be eaten and digested. They can grow up to 3 meters in length although most likely around 1 meter in average length.

Habitat:

Sandy bottom in the shallow reefs.

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31 Comments (1–25)

triggsturner
triggsturner 3 years ago

Congrats again Albert.

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 3 years ago

Congratulations!

AlbertKang
AlbertKang 3 years ago

Thanks, @Daniele, @Mark and @armadeus.4 :)

armadeus.4
armadeus.4 3 years ago

Congratulations Albert! The most interesting worm I've ever read about :)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 3 years ago

Congratulations yet again Albert. Incredible looking creature. Ha ha.. Bobbit

DanielePralong
DanielePralong 3 years ago

Another and final round of congratulations Albert! This favorite for many placed 3rd in our 2016 Best Photo mission (category Others)!

https://www.facebook.com/projectnoah/pho...

Jolly Ibañez
Jolly Ibañez 3 years ago

Stunning, mesmerizing picture! Beautifully captured. You deserve the honors.

AlbertKang
AlbertKang 3 years ago

Thanks, @Antonio for your kind words and support :)

Amazing Albert,fantastic find,great info us usual :-),very good work you have,congrats on the well deserved SOTW and thanks for sharing

AlbertKang
AlbertKang 3 years ago

Interesting indeed, @ChunXingWong. Can't tell for sure unless can see a picture of it :D. Try going back to Manukan to look for it, if its a new species :p

Thanks, @sunnyjosef :)

sunnyjosef
sunnyjosef 3 years ago

Congrats to you Albert for this excellent SOTD...! Great work!

ChunXingWong
ChunXingWong 3 years ago

I am not sure AlbertKang. The one I saw in Manukan is quite small, only about 5mm in diameter. It hide in a burrow in the sands. Whenever the tides and waves comes in, it will emerge to bite and scavenge everything near it. It does have a complex mouth part, strong and sharp enough to bite and grab hold onto any items I put near it, something even tearing them apart. It moves very fast though. It was sensitive when I tried to disturb it. I tried digging it out but I realize that the tunnel goes all the way deep down. Maybe a new species. Haha

AlbertKang
AlbertKang 3 years ago

@ChunXingWong - I am not sure if what you saw in Manukan is a Bobbit Worm. You are unlikely to see them at the beach. You might have mistaken a Sea Cucumber to Bobbit Worm, Same thing as another PN Member JordiPratts did, who thought the Synaptid Sea Cucumber he saw was Bobbit Worms. Synaptip Sea Cucumber are longish, more than 1 meter in length and they have a well-developed array of feather-like feeding tentacles which they use to move organic food into their mouths. Check out this website to see them :

http://echinoblog.blogspot.my/2013/11/sy...

ChunXingWong
ChunXingWong 3 years ago

Cool spotting AlbertKang!
I used to play with one on the beach in Manukan island when I was young. I experimented it by putting all sorts of things onto it to just watch it bite them and drag them down into its hole.

AlbertKang
AlbertKang 3 years ago

Thanks, @Daniele and PN Rangers for this SOTW :)

DanielePralong
DanielePralong 3 years ago

Congratulations Albert, this astonishing worm was voted Spotting of the Week! With many thanks for your ongoing outstanding contributions to Project Noah.

https://www.facebook.com/projectnoah/pho...

https://twitter.com/projectnoah/status/7...

AlbertKang
AlbertKang 3 years ago

Thanks, @DrNamgyal :)

DrNamgyalT.Sherpa
DrNamgyalT.Sherpa 3 years ago

Congrats for the nomination!

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 3 years ago

Thank you Albert, glad to hear they are not laying in wait for me on some beach :)

AlbertKang
AlbertKang 3 years ago

Thanks, @Desmond and @Gilma - its a nomination and the other Spottings nominated are equally amazing.

@Lauren, it is unlikely you will step on one. They are very 'shy' animal and very often if you get close to them with light (as they only appears at night to hunt), they will retract back into their hole and it could be a long wait for them to appear again. Also, when I mentioned shallow reefs, its like at least 3 meters depth, so its not possible for non-divers to 'walk' into those depths and for scuba divers, we don't walk on the sea bottom :D

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 3 years ago

What happens Albert if you step on this? Will it bite you and poison you?

Love this spotting, Albert, it seems to acctually be true to it's name. It has to make it for SOTW. Congratulations, and Thank you for sharing.

Desmond.E.S.O
Desmond.E.S.O 3 years ago

Congrats!

AlbertKang
AlbertKang 3 years ago

Thanks, @Felix Fleck.

Thanks too, @Ashley for the nomination :)

AshleyT
AshleyT 3 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

AlbertKang
Spotted by
AlbertKang

Batangas, Philippines

Spotted on Jan 28, 2016
Submitted on Jul 29, 2016

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