Image: Family Eunicidae: Eunice aphroditois (Pallas, 1788)

Family Eunicidae: Eunice aphroditois (Pallas, 1788)

Family Eunicidae: Eunice aphroditois (Pallas, 1788) (specimen photographed underwater in the Philippines).

Photographer:
Roger Steene
Rights:
© Roger Steene

Notes

These magnificent iridescent worms have a strong muscular body reaching lengths of 1-2 metres and live in warm, shallow waters. They are ambush predators that patiently wait in a burrow with only their heads sticking out and their five sets of razor-sharp jaws stretched open for an unsuspecting prey. Once they detect a potential prey, they lunge for it in a strike so powerful that can cut a fish in half. It is commonly referred to as the “Bobbit worm”, as, apparently an underwater photographer decided that its hunting methods were similar to the Bobbitt family incident of 1993. The nickname has stuck, despite being inaccurate – Lorena Bobbitt inflicted a grievous injury on her husband’s treasured body part using a knife rather than scissors.

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