September 14th, 2008

read a book

Pig Butt Worm

"The picture is of a new marine worm, Chaetopterus pugaporcinus, that dwells at 1000m.  Its Latin name translates into "Chaetopterid worm that looks liek th rump of a pig.  It has a segemented body like other polychaetes but the middle segments are inflated.  The posterior and anterior segments are compressed against the inflated segments.  One of the authors, notes its similarity to the larvae of other chaetopterid worms with the exception that is 5-10x larger, so it may be an adult.  On the other hand none of the individuals yet identified have sex organs, sperm, or eggs, so it may be a larvae.  By the way, that family of worms is a taxonomic mess, so before the authors could place this worm in the family, they had to construct a phylogeny to sort out the mess.  The worms feed by facing mouth down and deploying a mucus cloud that catches marine snow."

From Deep Sea News. Link to entire article with more pictures!:

Lol...I kind of want to poke it with a needle to see what happens.

Half-blind, alcoholic, slow-fast ground shark

I saw an episode of Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel...this thing is fuckin' awesome.

Sominus microcephalus, also known as: the Greenland shark, sleeper shark, gurry shark, grey shark, or Eqalussuaq (Inuit).

They live farther north than any other shark, in the depths of the freezing ocean.  They're incredibly sluggish and mostly blind.
They are comparable in size to a Great White.

Now the exciting parts:
The sharks are so sluggish that they can be pulled from the water by hand (with the help of a pulley system of course...they're big).  They don't even appear to struggle when they come out of the water.  Despite how slow they seem, their stomachs have been found to contain fish, squid, seals, reindeer, horses, and polar bear. 

Their flesh is toxic, but they can (and occasionally do) cannibalize each other.  The flesh can be prepared so that it is no longer toxic, and is considered a delecacy in Iceland and Greenland.  If the toxic flesh is eaten it can produce effects similar to extreme drunkenness.

The sharks have a symbiotic relationship with a parasitic copepod, Ommatokoita elongataThis creature attaches to the cornea of the shark and causes scarring there, leading to their partial blindness.  The benefit to the shark is unknown, though it is hypothesized that the copepod acts as a fishing lure. 

Greenland sharks have been spotted snatching reindeer from the water's edge in Canada.

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Source: wikipedia