[Annelida] Red squiggly things
(by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Fri Aug 20 03:24:24 EST 2010
A mystery solved. But are there really people who devote their whole lives to the study of these creatures?
San Francisco Chronicle online
The answer man: Q: "I shined my light down into the water (at 11 p.m., Spud Point Marina in Bodega Bay) and saw hundreds of small red, swimming worm-like creatures. Any idea what they could be?" - John Alexander. A: These rarely seen organisms were featured in the horror film, "Attack of the Red Worm-Like Creatures." You may remember it. Actually, I described this episode to three experts, who said they had never heard of such a phenomenon. Anybody out there have a clue? "There's a lot out in the ocean we still can't explain," said marine expert Craig Stone.
Last Sunday's outdoors column included John Alexander's query about "hundreds of small, red swimming worm-like creatures" at night at Bodega Bay. What were they? That mystery attracted responses from across the country, and several other readers reported that they had also seen the red squiggly things. Scuba diver John Yasaki from Monterey even encountered them when they were attracted to his lights on night dives.
Rich Mooi of San Francisco State University, chairman of the department of invertebrate zoology and curator of echinoderms, provided the answer: They are a species of polychaetes (annelids) known as "bristle worms." In response to my note that they were featured in the horror film "Attack of the Red Worm-Like Creatures," Mooi wrote that they were unlikely to attack anyone. "They were far too busy engaging in the necessary and distracting act of having worm sex." Many others said they'd like to see the movie anyway.
NIWA is the trading name of the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd.
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