Pigbutt Worm

The title of this post is not a typo or a joke. There really is a deep sea worm called a pigbutt worm. Not only that, but its Latin name, Chaetopterus pugaporcinus, means butt face. And while I haven’t spent any time looking at pig butts, this worms is apparently aptly named. Human nature being what it is, I had to find out more.

Photo Credit Casey Dunn

The pigbutt worm was discovered only a couple of decades ago because it lives at depths of 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) in the midnight zone. It is roughly the size of a hazelnut. Like other worms it is segmented, but it is not long. Instead, a couple of its segments are slightly inflated, giving it the rump-ish look. This allows it to float through the water in the ocean current.

This little creature is interesting not only in its name and appearance. It has a unique way to get food. To feed, it spew a cloud of sticky goo (scientifically called a mucus cloud) into the water that traps marine snow (drifting bits of organic matter) the worm will eat. I never cease to be amazed by the natural world!