Zombie Worms Use Acid To Eat And Have Sex In Whale Bones

Zombie worms, better known by the science community as Osedax, like to make their way into whale bones to eat, relax, and even get it on.

According to a study published May 1, the slithering dead were previously thought to drill into whale bones, when actually they use acid to dissolve them.

The acid is developed on the worm’s skin by proton pumps that appear at the front of the body, marine physiologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Martin Tresguerres said.

“The amount of proton pumps is off the charts,” he added.

Osedax does not have a mouth, and therefore no teeth to help it get through the bone. They don’t even have digestive systems.

Tresgurres thinks that symbiotic bacteria help the worm digest food. How nice.

After all, food is one of the reasons that the worms disturb the whale’s personal space. But it is not the only reason.

“This rapid sexual maturation of females, alongside the male dwarfism which was observed, enables the worms to reproduce effectively in the food-rich but highly isolated habitat of whale bones,” a study published in Naturwissenchaften said back in March.

So the worms use acid to get in the bones, buy a member of the opposite sex a cold, perspiring glass of whale bone, and close the drapes (also made of whale bone) to get on to baby making.

Lovely. But it gets better!

The female zombie worms are much larger than the males. To put some perspective on this, 50 to 100 males can live inside one female.

After mating, the newborn Osadex larvae can drift around the ocean for up to 10 days before settling in another whale carcass for nourishment.

The worms are a relatively new discovery, dating back to 2002, when they were found in an underwater valley off the coast of California.

So unless you are a deep sea diver, they are nowhere near you at the moment.

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