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A ribbon worm explores its surroundings with its proboscis

What’s super bright green, explores its surroundings with a really long pink tendril, and has become a viral sensation since it was recorded by a fisherman in the Penghu Islands, Taiwan? From National Geographic:

The creature in question is a type of nemertean, or ribbon worm, called Lineus fuscoviridis, says Jon Norenburg, chair of invertebrate zoology at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. This harmless species ranges from Japan to the Philippines and is fairly common in tropical coastal waters, he says. The animal in the video “probably crawled out of something brought out of the water,” Norenburg explains, like a porous rock, a large clump of seaweed, or even an old tire…

So what about that pink thing writhing around on the dock in the video? It’s a proboscis, one of the defining features of this group of ribbon worms. The tongue-like organ can shoot out to capture prey—and in certain species, it’s sticky and will entangle a clam, sea slug, or another worm. The ribbon worm will then engulf its victim whole.

And there are over 1,100 species of ribbon worm in the world! Via Quartz, we can see another internet-famous ribbon worm here:

Related reading: 14 Fun Facts about Marine Ribbon Worms.

Watch these next: Giant amber snail catches an earthworm and How Velvet Worm slime jets work.

Thanks, @swissmiss.

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