SITE VISIT: Can of Worms

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Science  28 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5479, pp. 503
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5479.503d

Hooked on earthworms, Charles Darwin whiled away months watching the slippery creatures mate and mine, even noting their reaction (indifference) when his family played different musical instruments. Keep abreast of what Darwin's successors have discovered about annelids—the segmented worms that include earthworms, leeches, and bristly marine worms called polychaetes—with the Annelid Resources page. Created by New Zealand taxonomist Geoff Read and hosted by the University of New Orleans, the site provides researchers with the latest on annelid taxonomy, ecology, and distribution.

The 4-year-old site includes an annelid discussion group, an annotated bibliography of recent papers on worm phylogeny, a directory of worm experts, and geographical taxonomic lists for some of the 9000 annelid species. Adding context are a list of annelid papers dating back to 1705, book reviews, and biographies of famous worm researchers. Read has also tossed in some fun diversions. No annelid page would be complete without photos of engorged leeches feasting on human blood. You can also download a clip from the 1990 film Tremors, in which man-eating worms pursue Kevin Bacon. Join an online expedition to visit stands of deep-sea tubeworms, or “ice worms” prospering on slabs of frozen methane.∼worms/annelid.html

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