‘Extinct’ sea worm rediscovered in Spain

From AFP news agency:

Sea worm thought to be extinct spotted off Spain

October 5th, 2009

A sea worm that uses a trunk to catch prey that was thought to be extinct has been rediscovered in the waters of the Atlantic off northwestern Spain, researchers said Monday.

Spanish zoologist Juan Junoy from the University of Alcala de Henares near Madrid discovered 21 of the bright red Lineus acutifrons worms at the National Park of the Atlantic Islands in Galicia, the university said in a statement.

“The only news we had of this species is of a description of them at an Irish beach in 1913. Since that year they had never been captured again, and the scientific validity of the description was questioned, and the species considered to be extinct,” it said.

The worm, which can reach a length of 25 centimetres (10 inches), is blind and uses chemical receptors to locate its prey.

Unlike the massive hotel complexes found along Spain’s southern coastline, the Galician coast is largely undeveloped. It features instead a maze of coves, caves and inlets that have long made it a smuggler’s paradise.

Polychaete worms have populated the oceans for millions of years. Today they are the focus of study on cryptic species, which shows that apparently identical animals may be entirely different species. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now found new worm species in the Kattegat and Skagerrak: here.

How does a worm build a throat? Tackling the ‘organ formation puzzle’: here.

The species, Eunice aphroditois, is a large predatory polychaete worm that can reach up to 3m/10′ in length, though most are around a meter long. It typically feeds on live fish: here.

New species of sea worms discovered in Australia & Sweden: here.

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have discovered a caste of genetically identical “warrior worms” — members of a parasitic fluke [trematode flatworm] species that invades the California horn snail. The findings are reported in the early online version of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: here.

The previously unknown species of ribbon worm discovered in Kosterhavet National Park in 2007 has now been scientifically named using a new method. Pseudomicrura afzelii, a form of nemertean or ribbon worm, has been described and registered by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, using DNA technology: here.

Polynoid polychaetes living in the gut of irregular sea urchins: a first case of inquilinism in the Southern Ocean: here.

The north-west Pacific nemertean Cephalothrix simula has been introduced to the Pacific coast of North America, to the Mediterranean Sea and to the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. This paper describes the first records of Cephalothrix simula from northern Europe, revealing a broader range for this non-endemic palaeonemertean species. A tree-based species delimitation method (Poisson Tree Process) employing the mitochondrial cox1 gene fragment reveals that four of five Cephalothrix specimens collected from The Netherlands correspond to Cephalothrix simula and only one to the endemic Cephalothrix rufifrons. The Cephalothrix simula sequences from The Netherlands exhibit the highest similarity with sequences from the native area and those from the invaded area in southern Europe. Its co-occurrence with the native Cephalothrix rufifrons in the same habitat is reported. External characters potentially distinguishing live Cephalothrix simula from Cephalothrix rufifrons are given. This finding raises the number of recorded species in The Netherlands to 20: here.

2 thoughts on “‘Extinct’ sea worm rediscovered in Spain

  1. Pingback: New Spanish crab species discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Ancient Cambrian worms family tree research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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