A team of researchers from the University of California and the CNRS University of the Sorbonne has identified four new species of deep-sea worms called Elvis worms. About this writes the journal ZooKeys.
Researchers have described worms that they have discovered while studying deep creatures for several years. Officially, they belong to the form of scaly worms, but the team called them Elvis worms because their rainbow-like appearance reminded them of Elvis’s shiny overalls.
Only recently have they used genetics to distinguish between the four most common species of Elvis worms. At the same time, they formally identified four species: Peinaleopolynoe goffrediae, P. mineoi, P. orphanage и P. elvisi – the first was named after the famous marine biologist, the second was named after the person who paid for the research work, the third was named after the famous geobiologist and the fourth – in honor of the famous singer.
All four representatives of their species live on the seabed at a depth of 900 meters. Several samples of each species were collected from the bottom of the ocean using a remotely controlled vehicle, allowing the team to study the worms in their laboratory. In the wild, these creatures tend to gather around the corpses of dead whales or other organics as a food source.
Researchers noted that worms live in water in which there is no light, so other creatures that live there with them cannot see their shiny, purple, blue, and pink irises and are not able to see each other because they do not have the eye.
Therefore, scientists are so worried about why they need colorful shells. Researchers were not able to answer this question, but suggest that it may be a special bioluminescence that helps creatures find each other. They also note that they were puzzled by the notches on the shells of the worms, until they shot a video about two of them fighting, practically dancing, to bite a piece from the shell of the enemy.