IMAGES: Hooked on Worms

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Science  27 Sep 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5590, pp. 2175
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5590.2175b

“Beautiful worm” might sound like an oxymoron—until you see the Technicolor creatures on display at the Web site Marine Flatworms of the World. Molecular biologist and flatworm maven Wolfgang Seifarth of Heidelberg University in Germany has written an informative primer on these habitués of warm seas, some of which can grow to the size of a dinner plate. Taxonomy pages give a genus-by-genus breakdown of the group. You can also probe the details of their anatomy, learn about their mating habits (most are hermaphrodites), or get the lowdown on their diet and how they avoid becoming a meal. Because tender-bodied worms are a delectable mouthful for a fish, some species have evolved to closely resemble poisonous sea slugs. Others sport their own toxins: Their gaudy colors might warn potential predators. The site's biggest draw is a gallery packed with underwater shots of Day-Glo worms. Below, Pseudoceros ferrugineus, a native of the Pacific Ocean.∼bu6/flatintr.htm

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