Newly found ‘glitter worms’ dance and combat each other underwater

Newly found ‘glitter worms’ dance and combat each other underwater


Here is a better have a look at the newly-discovered scale worms: (A) Peinaleopolynoe orphanae, (B) Peinaleopolynoe elvisi, (C) Peinaleopolynoe goffrediae and (D)Peinaleopolynoe mineoi. 

ZooKeys Journal

What’s coated in glittery colours, lives deep underwater and dances throughout fights? 4 new species of deep-sea worms coated in colourful, iridescent scales.

Researchers from College of California, San Diego and Paris-Sorbonne College, France described the 4 newly-discovered species of deep-sea scale worms in a paper revealed Tuesday within the journal ZooKeys. The worms are named Peinaleopolynoe goffrediae; P. mineoi; P. orphanae; and P. elvisi (named after Elvis).

The scales on the brand new worms shine with iridescent purple, pink and blue colours. The shiny colours are discovered totally on the highest layers of the worm scales. The researchers discovered that the iridescence was brighter on the thicker scale layers. The worms even have bristles that give off a glittery fiber optics mild impact. 

“Our nickname for them was Elvis worms as a result of they appear to be sequins on an Elvis jumpsuit,” marine biologist and research researcher Greg Rouse advised Inside Science on Tuesday. Rouse works for Scripps Establishment of Oceanography on the College of California, San Diego.

However the sequin-like scales aren’t to indicate off the worms’ magnificence. The worms are too removed from daylight to be seen by different marine life. These Peinaleopolynoe worms had been discovered hundreds of meters underwater in Monterey Canyon, California. The worm P. orphanae was really found close to a hydrothermal vent from an underwater volcano within the Gulf of California, Mexico at Pescadero Basin.

Researchers assume the colourful inflexible scales on the worms are used as armor to guard themselves when preventing each other. In some instances, as with the P. orphanae worms, their thicker and extra vivid scales had notches from different worms biting them throughout assaults. 

In a video posted final yr by Rouse, two worms may be seen engaged in an act of aggression, with one worm attempting to take a chunk out of one other worm. Earlier than and after the worm is attacked, it is noticed doing a really weird form of backwards and forwards dance motion. 

“Here’s a pair of a brand new species of scale worm interacting on the deep sea ground,” Rouse wrote within the video description. “Why the aggression and what it means are unknown, however it’s superb to have the ability to watch this. I sped the video up by 4x.”

The researchers did not touch upon whether or not the Peinaleopolynoe worms are cannibalistic, or similar to to chunk one another when preventing. However the uncommon worms are sometimes discovered consuming carcasses of creatures a lot bigger than themselves. 

“Peinaleopolynoe means ‘hungry scaleworm’ as these creatures are sometimes discovered dwelling on lifeless carcasses like whale falls,” Rouse added.

Whale falls are the our bodies of whales that die then sink to the underside of the ocean. These whale our bodies show to be a major meals supply for every little thing from sponges to octopuses, and on this case, Peinaleopolynoe worms.


Here is nearer dorsal views of the P. orphanae worm. The arrows point out chunk marks acquired by preventing with different P. orphanae worms.

ZooKeys Journal

Whereas there’s a lot to find about these deep-sea Peinaleopolynoe worms, College of North Carolina Asheville professor Rebecca R. Helm (who was not a part of the worm research) tweeted concerning the superb discover, and why we should always recognize these glittery preventing worms. 

“There’s nonetheless a lot we do not learn about these creatures,” Helm tweeted on Wednesday. “But when glitter worms train us something, it is that even within the harshest locations there may be nonetheless surprise and sweetness. Occasions are powerful, however always remember the awe and majesty of life on this unusual blue planet.”

Helm wasn’t the one one on-line who marveled at the great thing about the brand new Peinaleopolynoe worms. 

“We salute you, glittery-monching-battle-worm. You’re the better of us,” one individual tweeted

One other worm fan tweeted, “Introducing the primary non-legendary Pokemon to be revealed within the Isle of Armor growth…”

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