Australia is a land of ridiculous animals. Insects of very large size to fly from the bitch magicians, the land in the opposite direction is a natural sight of nature that is not found anywhere else in the world. Entering the stage now, however, can be the strangest of them all – a worm with a hundred buttholes.
Making a home in the internal canals of marine sponges, Ramisyllis multicaudata is a mad marine worm that is one of only two species to have a branched body with a head and multiple rear edges. Native to Darwin, Australia, these insects use their unique body shapes to spread over many tunnels in sponges and to live symbolically with their hosts. In a new study published by an international team in the Journal of Morphology, researchers looked to see how the branch could understand the insect’s internal functions and how it could spread in a maze that calls it home.
In addition, they discover a strange system of fertilization that involves the isolation of reproductive units that develop their own brains to find their way through sponge canals. Ramisyllis multicaudata was first discovered in the late 19th century and their distinctive appearance and behavior led them to be well documented. Despite this, the cause of their internal physiology and why their bodies are branched in this way is not understood. In an attempt to identify its internal functions, researchers use a microscopy, histochemical and observational technique to understand how insects survive and use their bodies for their convenience.
They discovered that the worm had spread to branches several times, resulting in hundreds of annuities that could be hundreds. “We were able to count more than 500 [branches] in one sample, but we think they could easily reach 1000,” said M. Teresa Aguado, a researcher and evolutionary biologist at Göttingen University.” Interestingly, these branches are all theoretically self-sufficient, just as a new branch also comes with a section of internal organs. Thus, each section of their body has a perfectly functional set of internal organs, connected to the anterior by a muscle bridge. This is the first time such behavior has been recorded.
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