The term ‘worm’ is typically used to classify any animal that has an elongated, cylindrical body with very little to no fur. In general, worms are already strange-looking enough, but this article will compile a short list of five of the oddest worms, both in terms of appearance and other factors.
We will start with one of the most unassuming of the worms, a species of flatworm called the Xenoturbella bocki. This marine worm does not even have a name given to it other than its scientific name; we suppose that perhaps the person who discovered by it was so taken aback by its complete lack of features that they had nothing to go off of to name it. This flatworm is so devoid of any characteristics, really just looking like a yellow/beige blob, that from afar it might just appear to be a strangely shaped rock, or a wad of slime. Like most flatworms, the Xenoturbella bocki has no internal organs or orifices, yet despite this, early testing indicated that it possessed mollusk DNA, meaning that it had eaten mollusks. Alternatively, it could also mean that the flatworm is somehow related to mollusks, and so this discovery remains a mystery.
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Next, we come to the Osedax rubiplumus, better known as the bone eating worm. Like the flatworm, the bone eating worm is also a marine worm, and lives in the deep seas. The worm was discovered in 2002, in a colony that was feeding on a decomposing whale carcass 9,400 feet under the sea. They were specifically feeding on its bones, and that is their primary diet, thus giving them their name. Yet, the oddest thing about these worms was the fact that the worms found feeding on the whale were only female, as the males lived inside the females. Male bone eating worms live inside the female as their growth is stunted, and yet they are still able to provide sperm for reproduction from inside the female to continue reproducing offspring.
And now we come to spoon worms. Their fleshy, pink-colored skin and shape has often suggested a phallic appearance, and they are often made fun of for this reason. These worms’ bodies appear soft and slimy to the touch, and are also bilaterally symmetrical. They come in many colors besides pink too, ranging from blue to yellow to gray. However, these worms are not considered odd purely due to their appearance. As gross as this may seem to Westerners, spoon worms are common street food in Korea, and are eaten alive. The worms are prepared prior to eating, being seasoned and cut up into smaller strips, but the bits will still be wriggling when one eats them! If one does a quick Google search, multiple YouTube videos will appear of people preparing and/or eating spoon worms. Viewer discretion is definitely advised as these videos are not for the squeamish!
Following this, we come to a worm that we think might crack up our readers. The pig butt worm was only recently discovered in 2006, and since then, very little information has actually been unearthed about this species of worm. This is because only a small number of pig butt worms have been found so far, these also being deep sea creatures (found at a dept of 3-4000 feet in Californian waters). And this is due to their minuscule size, only reaching a maximum diameter of 4/5-inches (2cm). They get their name from their hilarious appearance, which we are sure would put a smile on anyone’s face. It is so far unclear whether the pig butt worm is the larval form of a more developed animal, or if this is its adult form. Even more interestingly, when studied in a laboratory, pig butt worms do not actually swim, but simply hang out suspended in water. Additionally, these creatures have exhibited bio-luminescent capabilities!
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Finally, our last odd worm is the giant blue earthworm. This Australian native looks like any other earthworm, clitellum and all, except for the fact that they can grow up to two meters long and are blue, as the same suggests. Given their solid blue color, they have been said to resemble giant gummy worms, epitomizing their somewhat unreal physical appearance. These creatures are quite a rare sight, given that they spend most of their time underground where they have burrows. Although the giant blue earthworm has been around for a while, being first discovered in 1890, not much information is known about them. This is because the earthworm is not only difficult to catch for laboratory testing, but they are difficult to keep alive in laboratory conditions. It is unclear whether their blue color comes from a possession of venom, or if it is due to genetic mutation. Hence, this worm, like many of the others on this list, is still somewhat of a mystery.
To conclude, this has been a crash course on five odd worms. Most of these are considered strange because of their appearance, but their characteristics and behaviors are also interesting to say the least. We hope that our readers found this article to be interesting and that they learnt something new today!