August 20, 2009--
This creature is one of at least five new "green bombers"--deep-sea, swimming worm species armed with "bombs" (indicated by arrow) that glow a brilliant green when dropped.
The glowing bombs are thought to distract predators such as fish, allowing the worms to escape.
"There are no other annelids that have structures like this," said Karen Osborn, a marine biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California. The annelids make up a large category of marine and terrestrial segmented-worm species, including common earthworms.
She and colleagues describe one of the new species, Swima bombiviridis
--"swimming green bomb"--in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science
Photograph courtesy Casey Dunn