IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

[Annelida] 'Zombie worms' found off Sweden

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.co.nz
Wed Oct 19 22:33:28 EST 2005

Hi Annelida watchers,

Keith & Geoff saw this story on BBC News Online and thought you
should see it.

** 'Zombie worms' found off Sweden **

Scientists describe a new species of marine worm found off the Swedish coast
that lives off the bones of dead whales. <
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/4354286.stm >

A new species of marine worm that lives off whale bones on the sea floor has 
been described by scientists.

The creature was found on a minke carcass in relatively shallow water close to 
Tjarno Marine Laboratory on the Swedish coast.

Such "zombie worms", as they are often called, are known from the deep waters 
of the Pacific but their presence in the North Sea is a major surprise.

A UK-Swedish team reports the find in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.



Subscriber access only to full text. There is a quicktime video supplementary 

Glover, A. G.; Källström, B.; Smith, C. R. ; Dahlgren, T. G. 2005: World-wide 
whale worms? A new species of Osedax from the shallow north Atlantic. 
Proceedings of the Royal Society B FirstCite Early Online Publishing: 

ABSTRACT: We describe a new species of the remarkable whalebone-eating 
siboglinid worm genus, Osedax , from a whale carcass in the shallow north 
Atlantic, west of Sweden. Previously only recorded from deep-sea (1500–3000m) 
whale-falls in the northeast Pacific, this is the first species of Osedax 
known from a shelf-depth whale-fall, and the first from the Atlantic Ocean. 
The new species, Osedax mucofloris sp. n. is abundant on the bones of an 
experimentally implanted Minke whale carcass (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) at 
125m depth in the shallow North Sea. O. mucofloris can be cultured on bones 
maintained in aquaria. The presence of O. mucofloris in the shallow North Sea 
and northeast Pacific suggests global distribution on whale-falls for the 
Osedax clade. Molecular evidence from mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 (CO1) 
and 18S rRNA sequences suggests that O. mucofloris  has high dispersal rates, 
and provides support for the idea of whale-falls acting as ‘stepping-stones’ 
for the global dispersal of siboglinid annelids over ecological and 
evolutionary time.


  Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.co.nz>

More information about the Annelida mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net