This creepy worm is trying to digest a person’s hand…
by Bec Crew
the ribbon worm, a member of the Nemertea phylum of primitive
invertebrates that happens to include one of the longest-known animals
on Earth. While the species Lineus longissimus usually
only grows to a mere 5 to 10 millimetres, in 1864, a specimen washed up
on a Scottish beach after a severe storm, and was promptly measured as
being more than 55 metres (180 ft) long.
the demure little Nemertea in the video above, before it ended up dead
and sized-up on a beach, this super-long worm would have had some
powerful poisoning skills. All Nemertea worms are equipped with an
elongated, tubular mouthpart called a proboscis, which curls up inside a
specialised organ called the rhynchocoel just above its gut when the
worm is at rest.
When the worm is hunting, however, that highly
efficient, stretchy feeding tube will unfurl and emerge just above its
mouth, to cover its prey in a thick, sticky, and slightly pungent mucus.
All of which already sounds fairly unpleasant, but the worst part is
that it contains a relatively strong neurotoxin that can paralyse small
prey so they quit struggling. Which is exactly what the worm in the video above is trying to do to that man’s hand.