Saturday, April 3, 2010

Marine worm of the week -- Osedax mucofloris

The Osedax genus of opportunistic polychaete worms have been around for longer than human existence. They originally evolved to look like flowers in the hope of a cushy existence in florist shops, pretending to be a corsage. Due to the absence of florist shops at the time, they were forced to eke out a more stenuous niche on sea beds, living on whale carcasses. Once the hagfish have finished scraping away the meaty bits, the Osedax worms burrow bum-first into the bones to digest the marrow. Well actually they recruit bacteria to do the hard work of marrow-digestion and pay them fuck-all while claiming the credit for themselves, but this is no more than any other entrepreneur would do.
Osedax have also been observed colonizing terrestrial mammal bones mixed in with galley waste from a surface vessel.
I look forward to this featuring as a plot device in the next series of Bones.

When other animals complain about the rapid disappearance of the whale carcass, the Osedax explains that "We've got to get away from this idea that somehow we have to protect one-third of bones for a certain constituency and put it in a jar of formaldehyde and leave it."

However, every whale caught by Japanese whalers research vessels and taken home to be foisted onto school-kids as subsidised lunch meat means FEWER HOMES FOR OSEDAX.
Save the bone-eating zombie worms!
(thanks big sister)

12 comments:

Another Kiwi said...

Zombie worm or colloquially known as "bone eating snot flower"
It's a classy little thang whatever way one slices the sea cucumber.

mikey said...

"Osedax Mucofloris colonized terrestrial mammal bones with galley waste".

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wait'll you see what we have for desert!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Zombies, not just for Milwaukee anymore

M. Bouffant said...

Is the marine ecology entirely based on whale carcasses?

Smut Clyde said...

A combination of whale carcasses and the bodies of prehistoric monsters frozen for millennia in icebergs until thawed out by nuclear testing.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

And krakens... don't forget the krakens.

Substance McGravitas said...

have been around for longer than human existence.

The Old Ones are less glamorous than I imagined.

ckc (not kc) said...

...terrestrial mammal bones mixed in with galley waste..

OK, I understand the galley waste, but where did the mammal bones come from - clumsy cooks?

mikey said...

Or even clumsier (or perhaps just tremendously adventurous)terrestrial mammals...

Another Kiwi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Another Kiwi said...

Well, the mammal bones came from animals that the sailors traded for salt, with people that they met on their voyages. Here is where it gets really interesting, the salt and penis bone traders had a special language they used based on Latin and Greek. Thus there were a lot of jokes about pay rates in Ancient Greece.
There's lots more explaining to do.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Thus there were a lot of jokes about pay rates in Ancient Greece.

She sure "doubled my salary" hur hur hur...