What is this strange, slimy creature found at the bottom of a Philippine lagoon?

A team of marine biologists recently came across a living specimen of kuphus polythalamia from polythalamia at the bottom of a Filipino lagoon. It is a strange, slimy creature known to lodge in the wood of the hulls of boats.

It had eluded scientists for centuries. Dhe researchers finally had the chance to study a living specimen of a giant shipworm (kuphus polythalamia from polythalamia), a slimy, black, baseball-bat-shaped creature known to lodge in the wood of boat hulls. Contrary to what its name would suggest, the creature is not really a worm, but a bivalve, a kind of aquatic mollusc enclosed in its shell. The work will be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

« Their shells are quite frequent », explains Daniel Distel, a research professor at Northeastern University.  » But we had never been able to study a living specimen”. For Margo Haygood, who is leading the research, this is an extraordinary discovery.  » I am 1.60 m and some shells are taller than me “, she entrusted to the magazine Popular Science. The specimens in question were discovered in a lagoon near a former logging operation in the Philippines where they live buried in mud.

Looking at this image, you will feel like you are spreading chocolate with your piping bag. Except that in this case, it is a tartar and the piping bag is none other than its shell:

Haygood and his team were able to get their hands on this specimen thanks to a documentary that was airing on television in the Philippines. The images then revealed strange creatures planted like carrots in the mud of a shallow lagoon. Scientists have therefore decided to mount an expedition to try to study living specimens.

The animal can measure up to 90 centimeters and lives upside down in its shell. Part of its body is submerged under mud in shallow bays in the Philippines. This one lived at the bottom of a lagoon lined with rotten wood. Unlike other species of shipworms which embed themselves in the wood of trees that flow into the ocean, which chew and digest the wood with bacteria, this one feeds differently.

The organic-rich mud in its habitat emits hydrogen sulphide. A real feast for the animal, but a harmful gas for humans drawn from the mud to survive. Nature will therefore never stop surprising us.


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