A bone eating worm

Friday 28th October 2022

I would like to thank my friend Shane Lea for passing on the information contained within this blog. According to The Guardian online on August 22nd 2022 under the headline `Discovered in the deep :the worm that eats bones:`(Here is an extract from the article):

“The deep sea is home to a group of animals that look like tiny plants. They have no mouths, no stomachs and no anuses. They live inside a tube with a feathery red plume sticking out of one end and a clump of roots at the other. Deep-sea scientists first identified them in 2002, growing like a shaggy carpet on a whale skeleton they encountered by chance, nearly 3,000 metres deep in Monterey Bay, California. A deep-diving robot brought up samples which revealed these were not plants but worms that eat bones, now officially called Osedax – the bone-devourers in Latin.

Once scientists knew how to look for them, the search for bone-eating worms – also known as zombie worms – began in earnest. Teams dragged dead, beached whales offshore and sank them into the deep. Landing devices deliver parcels of animal bones to the seabed – pigs, cows, turkeys – then retrieve them months or years later to see what has infested them.

“Basically, wherever we put bones, we find [the worms],” says Greg Rouse from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, and one of the team who found and described Osedax…”

Richard Muirhead
Richard Muirhead has been a friend of the CFZ longer than anyone else. He first ,et Jon Downes in 1970 when they were both living in Hong Kong. They have been friends ever since.