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Nature & Environment

Iridescent 'Elvis worms' discovered on sea floor

By T.K. Randall
May 17, 2020 · Comment icon 4 comments

Why is this worm so colorful when it lives in pitch blackness ? Image Credit: ZooKeys
Researchers have identified four species of bizarre deep-sea worm that have been named after Elvis Presley.
In a new paper, scientists from the University of California and CNRS-Sorbonne Universite have described in detail four distinct species of what are commonly known as scale worms.

Found 3,000ft beneath the ocean's surface, these peculiar creatures tend to congregate around whale carcasses and other organic matter, however the researchers were able to use a remote-operated vehicle to collect and retrieve live specimens so that they could be observed in a laboratory setting.

Although each of the four species was assigned an official scientific name, the worms have been collectively referred to as 'Elvis worms' due to their iridescent plated covered shells which bear a resemblance to the sequined jumpsuits worn by singer Elvis Presley.
The biggest mystery however is exactly why the worms need such striking shells in the first place.

They live so deep down that everything is pitch black and the worms themselves have no eyes, meaning that there's no way that they can actually see each other.

None of the other wildlife at that depth would be able to see their colorful iridescent shells either.

As things stand, scientists have yet to come up with an explanation.

Source: | Comments (4)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by third_eye 4 years ago
They ought to be a Vegas convention center for Elvis worms...  ~
Comment icon #2 Posted by micahc 4 years ago
I have only heard of a skinny one and a fat one. 
Comment icon #3 Posted by lightly 4 years ago
Did they film them only from the waist up ?
Comment icon #4 Posted by Poncho_Peanatus 4 years ago
probably they used to live in shallow waters back in the Cambrian/Ordovician period, then slowly they moved deeper and deeper. Thats what i can come up with, plausible?

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