Nematodes helping against Lyme disease


This video says about itself:

Beneficial Nematodes For Pest Control In The Garden

30 August 2013

Beneficial Nematodes are a natural, easy and safe way to get rid of numerous pests like grubs, fungus gnats, fleas and ticks and other pests that develop in the soil.

Translated from Silvia Hellingman and Arnold van Vliet in the Netherlands:

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Fighting ticks by using nematodes seems a promising and environmentally friendly method. The first tests show that sixty percent of the ticks dies within ten days after they have been contacted with the minuscule worms. The coming weeks several field tests will be performed to optimize their practical application.

These ticks cause Lyme disease.

New marine worm species discovery in Antarctica


Parougia diapason. Photo: Sergi Taboada, UB-IRBio

From the University of Barcelona in Spain:

New species of marine worm discovered on Antarctica‘s Deception Island

May 08, 2015

Parougia diapason is the name of a new marine invertebrate species discovered on Deception Island (South Shetland Islands), in the Southern Ocean. An article published in the journal Polar Biology describes the finding.

The is part of a group of (polychaetous annelids) that commonly occur in marine seabeds rich in from both natural and anthropogenic origin at different latitudes. To be precise, P. diapason is the second species of the genus Parougia discovered in the Southern Ocean (P. furcata was described in 1953 by O. Hartman).

A new species on the seabed of Deception Island

Experts identified this small marine worm in bones of a common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in Port Foster shallow waters, on Deception Island, close to the Gabriel de Castilla Spanish Antarctic base, but also in association with organically enriched sediments nearby. “The Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands are a widely studied area. However, few species have been described so far on Deception Island,” says Professor Conxita Àvila, head of the multidisciplinary project DISTANTCOM, which studies chemical ecology, phylogenetics, phylogeography and trophic ecology in the Antarctic continent.

Marine worms that feed on whale bones: live after death

According to researcher Sergi Taboada, first author of the article, “Tthere are few scientific studies centred on marine invertebrate communities associated with whale bones in the Antarctic. Our group is pioneering these types of studies, which are also being developed in other Earth regions.”

Experts have carried out morphological and phylogenetic analyses (with nuclear and mitochondrial genetic markers) to determine the new species. Evidence suggests that it is the most ancient species of the genus Parougia. The species presents some morphological traits, including lack of a dorsal cirrus and some unique morphological characteristics related to the jaw apparatus, that distinguish it from the rest of the congeneric species described so far.

“The study provides comprehensive information about the new species, not only from a morphological and ecological point of view, but also places the species in its phylogenetic context,” says Taboada. “In the past, this type of information was not available, but lately, it is more and more common to find species descriptions that include a phylogenetic tree. Moreover, this kind of information is collected on public databases that every interested researcher can consult.”

Parougia diapason, an opportunistic species

One of the most interesting scientific aspects is the ecology of the species discovered in the Antarctica. These organisms populate areas rich in organic matter, both from natural and anthropogenic origins.

“It seems that P. diapason is an organism that signals any kind of environment alteration, like a significant increase of organic matter,” says Taboada. “The species is a clear example of an opportunistic species, in other words—an organism that profits from an excess of organic matter, which favours its proliferation and population density.” Knowledge of these ecological characteristics is crucial as it allows detecting environmental changes in an indirect way.

There is not much scientific literature about Antarctic marine benthic organisms that proliferate in eutrophic habitats (those rich in organic matter). There are some studies centered on anthropogenic activity impact in the McMurdo base, the largest American scientific base in the Antarctica, to monitor marine invertebrate communities in the area where waste water was dumped.

Antarctic species discovery and protection

The UB-IRBio research team has made other significant discoveries of Antarctic marine invertebrates, for example, the two first bone-eating worms of the genus Osedax, or the nemertean Antarctonemertes riesgoae that has a unique reproductive strategy. However, scientists say that there is still much work to do in order to explore, discover and protect Antarctica.

“It is necessary to continue studying new species and to do our best to protect them,” says Conxita Àvila. “The Antarctic has very special habitats that are difficult to study; measures must be maximized in order to avoid, for instance, anthropogenic pollution and tourism impact.”

“Any change can affect Antarctic regions but we do not have enough data yet. However, it is certain that these changes can cause the extinction of species that remain unknown and unstudied. Besides biodiversity loss, species extinction means missing the opportunity to study the chemical products they produce, which may be molecules with potential biological interest,” alerts Conxita Àvila.

Explore further: Researchers identify marine sponge strategies to survive in Antarctic and Tropical latitudes

More information: “A new Parougia species (Annelida, Dorvilleidae) associated with eutrophic marine habitats in Antarctica.” Polar Biology, April 2015, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 517-527 DOI: 10.1007/S00300-014-1614-7

Swimming leeches video from the USA


This video from the Shedd Aquarium in the USA says about itself:

27 April 2015

Shedd researcher Solomon David took this video of aquatic leeches at an agricultural ditch-wetland junction near the Bay of Green Bay. According to him, “I’ve seen many fishes at this site over past years, but never leeches (here or anywhere else) in numbers like this. They were at this site for at least two days.”

Medicinal leech swims, video


This video shows a medicinal leech, swimming about one meter below the water surface.

Diver Jos van Zijl from the Netherlands made the video. He remembers that last year, a leech bit him and sucked blood.

Worms on videos


This video says about itself:

Potworms (or Enchytraeids) are small white worms that live in environments that contain a high percentage of organic material (such as worm bins).

This is a time-lapse video about earthworms.

Medicinal leech swimming, video


This video about a swimming medicinal leech is by diver Jos van Zijl from the Netherlands.

He filmed it at the start of a dive. As Jos returned, the leech bit him and sucked blood. Jos van Zijl’s hand kept bleeding for two days.

New worm species discovery in the Netherlands


Cirriformia tentaculata in New Zealand

Translated from the Dutch marine biologists of Stichting ANEMOON:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A new marine worm species, new for the Netherlands, has recently been discovered. Recreational divers found Cirriformia tentaculata in the central Oosterschelde estuary, and published their findings in ‘Het Zeepaardje’, the bimonthly magazine of the Strandwerkgemeenschap. It is not known whether the species has only just appeared on the Dutch coast, or that it had already been present for a long time but had never been discovered before because of its unobtrusive way of life.

Much sea life is hardly visible to the eyes of sport divers. At least 300 species of worms are known from our coastal waters. Many species live hidden in the sand and mud bottoms.

So, probably many worm species in the Netherlands have not been discovered yet.

The origin of annelids: here.