Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Monster of Tasi Tolu

Our good friend Leslie Harris at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has generously provided an identification and further information about the "Monster of Tasi Tolu". (My apologies for using this title Leslie, but I'm attempting a bit of drama to draw in a larger audience). She has informed us that the photograph is

"the hind end of a chaetopterid polychaete, probably Chaetopterus. People thought that one species in particular, C. variopedatus, was a cosmopolitan species, meaning it lived everywhere around the world. Lately some researchers have been taking a closer look at the worms & realizing that you could easily tell the difference between regional populations, even between habitat populations in an area, and that these are all valid species. Chaetopterids are especially nifty even for polychaetes. They have 3 distinct body regions none of which look as if they belong together. Some of them create mucus nets to filter food particles out of the water as it flows through their tubes."

General information here: http://www.seafriends.org.nz/indepth/nd002.htm
and more specific information here http://www.mbl.edu/marine_org/marine_org.php?func=detail&myID=ITA-67097

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