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Brief Summary

Osedax worms are marine annelids closely related to the deep sea vent/seep-associated vestimentiferan worms. The sessile (i.e., fixed in one place) females bore into the bones of whale carcasses--and possibly bones of other vertebrates (Rouse et al. 2004; Glover et al. 2005; Vrijenhoek et al. 2008).

Osedax mucofloris, only the third Osedax species described and the first Osedax known from the Atlantic Ocean, was described by Glover et. al (2005) from an experimentally deposited carcass of a Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) at a depth of 125 meters in the North Sea. This species has also been collected in the North Sea from submerged Pilot Whale (Globicephala melas) bones at a depth of 30 meters and Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) bones at a depth of 125 meters (Dahlgren et al. 2006). Osedax worms were previously known only from deep-sea (1500 to 3000 meter) whale-falls in the northeast Pacific. Glover et al. discuss the implications of such a global distribution of the genus Osedax for understanding the phylogeography, historical biogeography, and diversification of this group. (Glover et al. 2005)


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© Shapiro, Leo

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team

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