Giant Fleshy Scaleworm
Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, University of Washington
San Juan Island, Washington
Archival Pigment Print
One of the longest scale worms known, this monster reaches lengths of 30 centimeters (12 inches) or more. And to other, smaller invertebrates, it may indeed be a monster, as many scale worms are predators (the diet of this species is uncertain). Oddly enough, the scale worm has hard jaws not at the front of its mouth but at the back of its throat, which can be turned inside out: When the throat is thus extended, its back is in front and the jaws are exposed. The jaws grasp the prey, and the throat reverts inside the body, pulling the food in with it. The giant fleshy scale worm is nocturnal and seldom seen during the day.