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The mysterious sea creature turned out to be a whole team of parasites

Added Fri, 06/10/2023
Дата публикации
Thu, 05/10/2023

In 2018, an interesting creature resembling a belly surrounded by appendages and something similar to millipedes was caught near the coast of Japan. For 5 whole years, scientists have been trying to understand what kind of creation this is, and finally they succeeded.

At first, experts put forward 3 versions about the creature's affiliation: mollusks, worms or crustaceans. However, no version has been confirmed.

Everything turned out to be somewhat more complicated and confusing. Austrian researchers have established that this is a colony of two species of parasitic worms that swim as a whole. Appendages are separate organisms called "sailors". They are attached to a lump where more than 1 thousand are located. "passengers". So two parasites have developed a bait that infects the intestines of the host.

The scientist I. Adameiko, having studied the sample, established the affiliation of "passengers" and "sailors" to the family Acanthocolpidae and the genus Pleorchis. The assumption was confirmed by a DNA test.

The neuroscientist noticed that each parasite has its own role: "passengers" are the causative agents of infection, while "sailors" deliver them to the host. And it also turned out that the "sailors" were able to simultaneously beat their tails, thus provoking movements resembling jumps or pulsation. This is what in past studies has led to the assumption that this is a swimming animal.

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