A new bizarrely shaped spoon worm, Arhynchite hayaoi, from Japan

Jun 27, 2013
A new bizarrely shaped spoon worm, Arhynchite hayaoi, from Japan
This image shows the new spoon worm species, Arhynchite hayaoi. Credit: Teruaki Nishikawa

A new species of the peculiarly shaped spoon worms has been recently discovered in Japan, and described in the open access journal Zookeys. These animals derive their name from their elongated and spoon-like projection (the proboscis), issuing from the barrel- or sweet potato-like roundish body proper (the trunk).

The new species Arhynchite hayaoi was discovered on a sandy tidal flat named Hachi-no-higata of the Seto Inland Sea, Japan. Like most spoon worms, the new species has the typical peculiar spoon shaped . The animal is of a pinkish-yellow colour, and its body length reaches about 10 cm in total.

Spoon worms, scientifically called Echiura, are a small group of exclusively . Although they are members of annelid worms, most of which has segmented structure, they have lost segmentation during their evolutionary history. Like the new species from Japan, most spoon worms live in shallow waters, but some are connected with deep sea waters. Most representatives are deposit feeders, which means that they use their "spoon" to collect or fragments from their surroundings.

A new bizarrely shaped spoon worm, Arhynchite hayaoi, from Japan
"Hachi-no-higata" is where the new spoon worm was discovered. Credit: Masaatsu Tanaka

Previously confused with a different species, the newly described spoon worm used to be in fact rather abundant and collected in great numbers from intertidal to subtidal sandy bottoms for fish bait in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan. Now that the true identity of the species is recognised, it seems to be in decline, with numbers dropping to a point where the spoon worm lost this economic importance.

Explore further: Risk-taking behavior depends on metabolic rate and temperature in great tits

More information: ZooKeys 312: 13–21, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.312.5456.

Related Stories

Cutlery: Do size, weight, shape and color matter?

Jun 25, 2013

The appearance of cutlery can affect perception of a food's taste, reports BioMed Central's open access journal Flavour. Food tastes saltier when eaten from a knife, and denser and more expensive from a ligh ...

Travel of a mis-swallowed long spoon to the jejunum

Oct 28, 2009

Foreign body ingestion is a frequent gastrointestinal emergency. However, long spoon swallowing is a rare event. Most swallowed spoons have been found in the stomach. Previously, there has been no reported case of a long ...

New species discovered on the Great Barrier Reef

Mar 08, 2010

Between the grains of sand on the sea floor there is an unknown and unexplored world. Pierre De Wit at Gothenburg University knows this well, and has found new animal species on the Great Barrier Reef, in ...

Mystery of 'zombie worm' development unveiled

Mar 12, 2013

How do bone-eating worms reproduce? A new study by Norio Miyamoto and colleagues from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology sheds light on this question through a detailed observation of ...

Recommended for you

World's first microbe 'zoo' opens in Amsterdam

9 hours ago

The world's first "interactive microbe zoo" opened in Amsterdam on Tuesday, shining new light on the tiny creatures that make up two-thirds of all living matter and are vital for our planet's future.

Study shows how chimpanzees share skills

11 hours ago

Evidence of new behaviour being adopted and transmitted socially from one individual to another within a wild chimpanzee community is publishing on September 30 in the open access journal PLOS Biology. This i ...

Little blue penguin back at sea after hospital stint

16 hours ago

Wildbase Recovery Community Trust ambassador and Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie joined Massey University veterinary staff to release a little blue penguin back into the sea at Himatangi Beach this morning.

User comments : 0