This bizarre worm vomits out a creepy tree-like 'hand' to grab its food
Even if you think you've seen it all, you never have - especially when it comes to the animal kingdom. Within that world, the strange creatures of the ocean are often the most alien.
A video of a truly bizarre marine worm who appears to be puking its guts out has surfaced on the Internet, intriguing (and sometimes grossing out) the masses.
The white thing that shoots out of the worm is its proboscis, the appendage it uses to eat. Seriously, that growing rootlike structure that's vomited out is designed to drag food inside. Crab, fish, snails, other worms - anything will do (depending on the type and size of the ribbon worm we are talking about).
Until the worm needs to eat, the proboscis stays in a sac on top of the worm's gut.
But once the worm senses prey approaching, its muscles contract quickly, forcing fluid into the sheath and the proboscis out into the world through a pore in the worm's head.
The proboscis then grabs what's for lunch and drags it into the worm's belly.
Talk about crazy ways to eat.
Hill describes the proboscis as "like having a rubber glove inside your face that you could force outwards by blowing into it."
As fascinatingly weird as that is, the worm in the video is even more special. Not only does it have this appendage that can fly forth to grab prey, this particular proboscis branches out into all the thin strands seen in the video. Only the Gorgonorhynchus species of ribbon worm has a branching proboscis like that, making it distinct and identifiable, Hill says.
Hopefully now that you know a bit more you're a little impressed and not just weirded out by the odd little worm in this video:
Oh, and by the way? Some marine worms are the longest creatures on the planet, approaching 200 feet in length.
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