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Ribbon Worm in Taiwan Gets 461,000 Icky Views on YouTube

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Jun 2015 06:46 AM

A video of what's called a ribbon worm that looks more like a slimy snake has been viewed more than 461,000 times on YouTube since it hit the Internet last week after it was reportedly filmed in Taiwan.

The video shows the long, green worm, or nemertean, which normally lives in the sea, but every now and then makes it to land, often in damp climates, according to The Independent. It can be seen shooting a pink appendage which it uses to capture and immobilize its prey, noted The Independent.



"Filmed at a port in Taiwan, the video captures the three foot long luminous green creature wriggling on the dock before shooting its bright pink tongue out of its mouth," says a caption on one video.

"The footage has sparked a huge amount of debate on social media, as everybody from nature experts to science fiction fans argue over what the creature could be. … Although ribbon worms are usually only a few millimeters long, some varieties have been known to grow much larger. There is even a mysterious variety that some scientists claim measures 177 feet, which would make it the longest living creature on earth," said the caption.

Smithsonian magazine noted there are more than 1,000 species of ribbon worms that can be found around the world's oceans. The worm's appendage, or proboscis, is what sets the ribbon worms apart.

Jon Norenburg, chair of invertebrate zoology at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., told National Geographic that ribbon worms don't mind tackling prey three to four time its size for a good meal, often swallowing sea slugs much bigger than themselves.

"These worms are even better than pythons in this regard," Norenburg told National Geographic.

Ribbon worms, though, like the one in video. would not stand a chance on land, said Norenburg, because the animals need seawater to lubricate its mucus coating that allows them to move.

"The mucus (on the animal in the video) is drying just the way saliva dries in a person's mouth in the absence of adequate moisture," said Norenburg.

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A video of what's called a ribbon worm that looks more like a slimy snake has been viewed more than 461,000 times on YouTube since it hit the Internet last week after it was reportedly filmed in Taiwan.
ribbon, worm, icky, views, youtube
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2015-46-09
Tuesday, 09 Jun 2015 06:46 AM
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