‘Purple-Sock’ Worm Discovered in the Ocean

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Since 1950, scientists have been dumbfounded over this flat, pinkish worm-like creature found at the bottom of the ocean in Sweden. This odd critter is known as Xenoturbella.   According to cnet.com, four new species were found after 12 years of collection and study. “Researchers gathered specimens from off the coasts of Mexico and California and performed anatomic and genetic analyses to identify the new species.”

purple sock wormSome look like purple rocks, some look like churros, others look like stray laundry socks. One of them in particular looked like a smooshed piece of gum.

Although  some people may have thought these weird looking creatures were flatworms or mollusks, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography identifies them as deep-sea worms.

In reference to cnet.com, “The invertebrates tend to hang out near deep-sea cold seeps, hydrothermal vents, and whale carcasses.” They have no brain, eyes, or gills. The only hole on their slimy, slithering worm body is a mouth.

According to The Scripps Institute of Oceanography, altogether the four species include Xenoturbella Churro (resembles a churro), Xenoturbella Monstrosa (the largest at 8 inches long), Xenoturbella Hollandorum (the smallest at 1-inch long), and Xenoturbella Profunda (the deepest, discovered in a 3,700 meter hydrothermal vent).

It’s always fascinating when new creatures are discovered. There’s excitement in wondering what they’ll find next.

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