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Zombie worms devour shark teeth that fall to the ocean floor


Greg Rouse, Scripps Oceanography The Osedax body is visible inside the root of the tooth on the left and the piece emerging from the lower left is the gelatinous tube of the Osedax worm. The worm can retract inside when disturbed so we can see it properly in the picture.

The body of an Osedax worm is visible inside the root of a shark’s tooth, with the worm’s gelatinous tube hanging down

Greg Rouse, Scripps Oceanography

Deep-sea worms feast on the teeth of dead sharks that fall to the seafloor. These worms were previously known to eat whale bones and the remains of bony fish, but when those are scarce, shark teeth may be a key source of food.

Osedax worms are strange-looking creatures with frilly pink gills. They have no mouth or stomach, so they rely on microbes living inside them to absorb …

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