“Pectinereis strickrotti”: New Worm Found in the Ocean Depth

The deep ocean holds a treasure trove of mysteries, a world where sunlight cannot reach, and life thrives in darkness. A recent discovery adds to this mysterious world: a shimmering new worm species, Pectinereis strickrotti which is 10 CM (4 Inch) long, found in the deep ocean off the coast of Costa Rica.

Pectinereis strickrotti in A Hidden World

The discovery of P. strickrotti marks the 48th new species found thriving around methane seeps, challenging the belief that such environments are too harsh for life. Marine biologist Greg Rouse, leading the discovery team at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, emphasizes how little we know about Earth’s oceans, highlighting the urgent need for exploration and protection.

Unveiling the Mysteries: Pectinereis strickrotti

The journey to discovering Pectinereis strickrotti began in 2009, during a deep-sea dive off the coast of Costa Rica. Lead pilot Bruce Strickrott, operating the deep-sea submersible Alvin, first encountered these creatures at a depth of about 1,000 meters (3,280 feet).

Bruce Strickrott & deep submergence vehicle Alvin

Bruce Strickrott (on the Left) & The Deep submergence vehicle, Alvin

Source: capecodandtheislandsmag.com

The team’s subsequent return in 2018 revealed not just one but six of these mysterious worms, allowing for a closer study. The collected specimens revealed intriguing differences from other known ragworms. Unlike their shallow-water relatives, P. strickrotti inhabits the bathypelagic darkness and is blind. Their parapodia, covered with gills, suggest a unique adaptation for oxygen absorption. Further study is needed to understand their life cycle, feeding habits, and the purpose of their unique characteristics.

Into the Unknown

The discovery of P. strickrotti (Pectinereis strickrotti) is a reminder of the vast unknown that lies beneath the ocean’s surface. With only 5 percent of the world’s oceans explored and 10 percent of its deep-sea life cataloged, there is much more to uncover. Each discovery, like this eerie worm, adds to our understanding of the deep sea and the wonders it holds.

The study detailing the discovery of P. strickrotti has been published in PLOS One, offering a window into the fascinating and mysterious world of deep-sea life.

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